Cultural Commodities

Winter 2021 / LTEA 142 / Short Paper #1

Due: Due 11:59 PM, Sunday, February 21

****The submission window will be open for 7 days between 9:00 am on Monday, Week 7 (2/15) and 11:59 pm on Sunday (2/21).
Length: (no less than) 750 words (3 pages) ~ (no more than) 1000 words (4 pages)
(double-spaced. roughly 250 words per page)
Weight: 25 % of the grade
Please submit your papers electronically on Canvas under Assignment.
No late papers will be accepted.
Please respond to both of the prompts.

1. (1 ½ pages ~ 2 pages)
In comparing two films, Madame Freedom and Hell Flower, discuss the ways in which the United States’ domination of South Korea involved its deployment of commodities of different kinds, such as cultural commodities (music, dance, more broadly lifestyle) and material commodities (clothing, furniture, food and other modern conveniences), according to their respective representations of this era. In your consideration of the relations between the US hegemony over South Korea and commodities, please refer to and apply the concepts of “Commodity Imperialism” discussed in class and “Commodity Feminism” from Sturken and Cartwright’s article. (You can also use other ideas from Sturken and Cartwright that are relevant to the ways in which cultural domination including commodities as a cultural force contributes to the overall hegemony.) Please discuss at least 2 examples from each film. (4 total)

2. (1 ½ pages ~ 2 pages)
Discuss the ways in which Christina Klein’s idea of “women as icons of modernity” is relevant to their portrayal of the respective female protagonists in A Female Boss and Hell Flower. You should briefly summarize Klein’s argument and define what “women as icons of modernity” might mean in her article and consider how it may differently apply in the context of these two movies. Given that Johanna and Sonya come from vastly different socio-economic backgrounds, you have to consider the ways in which these characters constitute different types of feminine iconicity.

Put another way, please consider the following questions: What kinds of social, historical, symbolic meanings do these female characters embody? ; How do their class positions contribute to/structure the kinds of iconicity they represent? ; How would you relate this notion of women as icons of modernity to the larger recuperative plot where the women’s “modernity” has to be ultimately managed and controlled by the patriarchal forces? ; How does this notion of women as icons compare with the implicit universality of men as the actual agents of modernity and modernization?

These are only questions to consider as guidelines but not questions for you to answer.
Please discuss at least 2 examples from each film. (4 total)

For more information on Cultural Commodities read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodification

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