Activity: Lens Exploration

Learning Goal: I’m working on a humanities exercise and need support to help me learn.

Overview

In this activity, you will select a specific example within an area of popular culture and explore it through the four general education interdisciplinary lenses. By viewing your example through these lenses, you will gain insight into how popular culture and society affect one another through a feedback loop. The four general education interdisciplinary lenses are history, humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social science.

  • History is the study of the past and its connection to the present. It encompasses content, memories, and events situated in time.
  • Humanities is the study of cultures’ creative expression and contemplates metaphor, experience, and meaning.
  • Natural and applied sciences study the material world grounded in the scientific method.
  • Social sciences study human relationships and social structures grounded in demographic and statistic measurements.

When we look at an experience in our lives, we often jump between different frameworks to make sense of it. For instance, if we attend a music concert, we might move from an artistic lens (How did they create the musical score?) to a technical lens (How does all the lighting work?) to a financial lens (How much money do the performers earn?). Similarly, looking through the general education interdisciplinary lenses can help us see things from other perspectives by giving us a conscious way to analyze them, which helps to broaden our perspective.

This assignment prepares you to choose an example and lens for your project by first applying all four lenses. Before completing this activity, review the Project Guidelines and Rubric to know exactly what you will be working on. You may still change your choice of example until the next module.

Directions

For this activity, you will write a short paper on your choice of example within an area of popular culture and how you might apply the general education interdisciplinary lenses to that example. It could be an example that you have personally engaged with or one that you are interested in knowing more about.

  • An area of popular culture could be a genre of books, comics, music, video games, or other media. It could also be a musician’s discography, a fandom, a sport, or a fashion style.
  • The specific example within the area of popular culture you choose should be a direct and singular representative of that area of popular culture. For example, if the area is science fiction films, the example could be Blade Runner. If the area is augmented-reality video games, the example could be Pokémon GO. Similarly, if the area is baseball, the example could be a player, a team, or an incident within that sport.

Review the Module One Overview and visit the IDS 404 Library Guide for more guidance on selecting and refining an example. After selecting your example, do some preliminary research to ensure that you can address the required elements of your project.

In your paper, you must apply each lens to your example by using its language and perspectives. You are not required to answer each question below the rubric criteria but may use them to better understand the criteria and guide your thinking and writing.

Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria:

  1. Describe your existing knowledge about the example you chose.
    1. You might describe your personal experience with the example or what your assumptions are about the example. Ask, what do I know (or think I know)?
  2. Apply the history lens to your example.
    1. Using the language of history as it is defined in your resources and academic journals, how would you write about your example? What events and dates have occurred that are important to your example? Has the significance of the example diminished or shifted with time? Who are the authors of the historical record(s) related to your example?
  3. Apply the humanities lens to your example.
    1. Using the language of the humanities as it is defined in your resources and academic journals, how would you write about your example? What meaning does your example have within cultures? How do people express themselves regarding your example? What are people’s lived experiences with your example?
  4. Apply the natural and applied sciences lens to your example.
    1. Using the language of the natural and applied sciences as it is defined in your resources and academic journals, how would you write about your example? How might the scientific method be used to examine some aspect of your example? How might your example relate to the physical or material world? Are there any challenges to viewing your example objectively?
  5. Apply the social science lens to your example.
    1. Using the language of the social sciences as it is defined in your resources and academic journals, how would you write about your example? Who is/is not represented by your example? How might your example affect interpersonal relationships? What social structures and systems relate to your example?

What to Submit

Submit your short paper as a 1- to 2-page Microsoft Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.

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