Berkeley High School’s Arts & Humanities Academy Senior Interdisciplinary Project for the fall semester aims to explore a variety of socio-political issues and the multiple narratives around these topics , with particular attention to how these narratives are developed, articulated, and perpetuated through mass media – and why.
Working in groups of four, students are responsible for first selecting a topic. This is not meant to be an issue with a clear pro and con, rather students are encouraged to consider topics that generate completely distinct interpretations based on audience or intention. Additionally, students endeavor to present the narratives outside of traditional persuasive writing, or structured argument writing (Toulmin), and act more as reporters sharing the varying viewpoints of different populations.
The topics selected for 2016 are:
The Marijuana Debate: T’was the Night Before 4/20
The Black Lives Matter Movement: Do Black Lives Matter?
The Climate Change Crisis: Microwaving the Earth
The Immigration Debate: An Alien’s Guide to the USA
The Student Loan Crisis: Student Loans? More Like Student Moans
Transgender Rights: If You Ain’t Cis, You Ain’t This
The War on Drugs: War (On Drugs)! What Is It Good For?
Campaign Finance: Have a Koch and a Smile!
Statues of Sex Workers: Will You Find Me On The Corner?
Women’s Health & Reproductive Rights: Left Behind: Women’s Reproductive Rights
The Gun Control Debate: Son of a Gun
The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Syrian Refugees: A serious problem, or a Syrian problem?
Gentrification Cause & Effect: An Education in Gentrification
Working together the students are responsible for investigating the various narratives around their selected subjects. From this the students compile their written investigative reports on this blog. The written reports are based on traditional research as well as incorporating public opinion, demographic data and statistics, and both social and mass media, to present a multifaceted view of their research topics. Each narrative also incorporates graphic representations of data and a variety of media showcasing the findings. In addition to their investigative reports each group is responsible for digitally remastering a movie poster to satirically communicate one of the narratives around their topic that they discovered through their research.
What follows is the work they produced.