Journal Prompts

These are the prompts that students throughout the semester reflected on in connection to our readings. They use these prompts for the writing done on their personal journal pages and to have back and forth dialogue with one other.


  1. What issue that circulates often in the media keeps you up at night? Why do you care about this issue? 

  2. What would you like to get out of this class? Without mentioning grades or evaluation write about your goals for growth that you’re setting in this course?
  3. What would you like to get out of this class? Without mentioning grades or evaluation write about your goals for growth that you’re setting in this course?
  4. When we watched Lizzo’s performance in class and talked about dis-identifications some of us mentioned examples of how there can be parts of our identities and the ways we naturally express ourselves that are not “respectable” to the status quo. 


Think about the parts of you that you have felt are “not acceptable” to bring into a space, whether it be around family, professors, or other forms of authority. What are those parts? And, what’s an example of something in the media that tells you it’s not okay to be you/express certain parts of your identity. Write them down. 

Week 4 Prompts 

4. Reflecting on hook’s article, Black Vernacular: Architecture as Cultural Practice, how is the imagination political? Try to connect your thoughts and reflections on this idea to some of the readings and discussion we’ve been having.

Week 5 Journal Prompts + Post your film critique responses for Sorry to Bother You 

This week let’s use questions created by your fellow peers to generate our journal responses (!) You can write one or multiple responses that take these questions into consideration and bring up some of your thoughts in class discussion.

1.How does the idea of language subordination relate to Cash’s success in “Sorry to Bother You”? (Refer to and engage with chapter 6 and chapter 8 in Lippi-Green’s ‘English with an Accent’ to provide your reflective response.)

2.What were your thoughts on the ending of Sorry to Bother You?

3.How does language fit into the field advertising generally speaking? How do you think it makes those that don’t conform with SAE (“standard american english”)? (or how does it make you feel?)

Professor Reflections: We covered a lot of themes this week. However we are making an intentional balance between theory and practice, not just using our class space to review how theoretically we understand these issues but engaging with folks like Boots Riley who have centered a creative and media-making practice around resistance. Riley with Sorry to Bother You, makes us as consumers and critics of the film face some of these issues and it asks us to reflect on our positionally to the social issues occurring in this film. What do you think about all this? Excited to hear more from you in terms of merging one’s person (identity and activism) with the political (engagement, speaking truth to power systems and injustice).

Week 6-7 (merging themes and concepts) Journal Prompts and Reflections: 

(these questions were provided by some of your peers that I’d like us to reflect on).

  1. Can someone be an affective storyteller without embodying they identity or social group they would like to represent? Think about what makes for an “affective storyteller” and a quality production in terms of the types of media that resonate with you and after hearing Dr. Christian talk about their work today.
  2. Reflecting on the media distinctions brought out in Aymar Jean Christian’s text, ‘Open TV’ what do you now think about whether or not it is fair to judge a show’s “production value” based on intersectionality?

Larger reflection question: What connections are you seeing between Open TV and Marlon Rigg’s work–particularly Color Adjustment –the documentary? Think about this as you are watching this piece.

Week 8: After Fall Break 

1.Set a timer for 20 minutes and write a reflective story about something you did over fall break like piece of media you viewed (like binge-watching a show in your down time) that resonated with part of your identity. Provide details and tell us a story that teaches us something about you.

2. After reading chapter 8, pick two questions from page 299 and answer them as best you can demonstrating that you have read the chapter and other course readings too.


Week 9: Journal Prompts 

1. Chapter 8 in Croteau & Hoynes raises a lot of useful knowledge about various interpretations of a media pieces under the concept of polysemy and Stuart Hall’s decoding & encoding. A lot of the scholars we’ve read for this class also challenge us to look at ‘what else is’ there (Christina Sharpe, Kara Keeling, Stallings,) whether in our homes or in the world at large,  so we can be active participants rather than passive in our own daily lives and the communities we belong to. We may even potentially have power to persuade and impact change in these communities because of our unique interpretations of things.

Share a moment, or a story from your daily experiences that this concept(s) applies or connects to. When has who you are, or who you’re around, and what/who you’re influenced by, may have given you a different lens to view a particular piece of media or an event in an alternative or differing way then how those around you (may have) consumed it (family, friends, peers, church members etc.)? Tell a story.

2. Free Write: Kara Keeling’s chapter ‘Yet Still’ can be seen as highly theoretical but there are opportunities in this piece for practical application. Pick a passage/quote from the chapter (that is for some reason sticking with you) and use some space in your journal to try to connect it with your own thoughts and ideas on how what her call to action is in terms of real world occurrences and media’s role in creating better futures/worlds.

*Kara Keeling Media Department lecture for inspiration.

Week 10 and 11 Journal Prompts: 

  1. It was interesting to me that a few of you commented in today’s introductions that you’re learning about different identities from different folks in our class. However, I am not always noticing much dialogue between each of you that does not involve my prompting it. So here, take a moment to that sums up in a paragraph or two a story that teaches us more about who you are.  What’s your story?  *Note this prompt will be shared amongst peers.
  2.  What came up for you during madison moore’s talk in terms of nightlife culture and the concept of “nocturnal self”? What are your thoughts about “the club” and techno music being a predominantly Black creator space, where since it often has no words, both creators and consumers of it have to engage in their own meaning-making? How does this play a role in building queer and intersectional communities as seen in some of the images madison shared? How does this help to center liberation where we can be and do the things we desire while rejecting the parts of society that tells us to fit a standard in terms of what to wear, what to engage in, and how to learn? We saw today that the classroom can be the dance floor, one’s fashion choice always communicates a message, and ‘fabulousness politic’ is literally about “who gets to go and get a sandwich safely while dressed up”. 

Week 14 prompts: Engaging Course Readings and Life 

  1. What feelings did the Student Athlete documentary bring up for you? Now that you have done several film critiques, pick a one scene or narrative shared in the doc and talk through it. using your critical lens balanced with your personal share a well-informed reflection to bring to class.
  2. Pick one of our readings/media text from this week and write a response to it. What do you want to highlight and why was this text important for you, our class? For bonus: Insert a media piece from outside of class that is relevant to what you’ve been focused on.
  3. Next week we will talk about and remix conservations about the “the American Dream”. Some of you being away/home for the holiday break, tell us about what your concept of home is and how our class (thus far) has impacted the ways you think about home and the making of community where various identities are present? *Engage course readings as much as you can! (Think about our conversation yesterday about preparing to go “home” each time from college as you gain new knowledge that maybe others don’t have).

Week 15 Prompts: Unpacking “the American Dream”

1.Review bell hooks homeplace article and journal your reflections from it from today’s class, as well as the “symbol” of home that you and your group members created/discussed. please list group member’s names and show a visual that helps us see what you came up with. 

2. “Something I found intriguing was that the film only focused on basketball and football, but there are 24 NCAA sports nationally. Also, there were no female student athletes featured, which was weird because both directors are females.” (Sofia’s journal, 2019). Why do you think the film had a more narrow focus on men and two sports (football and basketball) but had female leadership? Write your thoughts to complicate our discussion a bit about the film’s intended audience and reach, especially in terms of which sports are tied to “American Culture” aka power, rigid masculinity, and large institutions run by a small portion of the population. 


Final Prompts (to be completed after our final “exam” at 6PIC) 

Wrapping up the class, write a closing statement (2-3 sentences) that sums up your growth (as you see it) and shares a takeaway that is important for you and others that you may have the ability to communicate with in terms of how our time together helped you think about your learning beyond University of Richmond campus?

6PIC reflection:

What sometimes does not get recognized (and I think not taught enough to college students) is the ways in which “community service” or volunteering, or even donating resources like money to “those in need” can be a reciprocal nourishing relationship. Meaning, that the person “giving” can gain just as much growth, inspiration, and learning from those who are framed (by the media and big institutions) as “in need”. What was it like presenting your work at 6PIC? A space (physical and metaphorically) that is not protected by the confines of the classroom on a pristine university campus? Were you uncomfortable? What did you learn about your work and academic interests by sharing them with an audience publicly? Did your project help you think about things you can offer to the broader Richmond community through sharing your learnings and engaging in public knowledge production? Did it give you any ideas about the future in terms of getting ‘beyond the bubble’?