Formal analysis

1. Look through the website
The International Institute of Social History at the University of Leiden and Stefan Landsberger’s collection of Communist Chinese posters are made available through this website. Select two posters on the same theme from the “Themes” page to compare and contrast. Instead of choosing two posters that are visually similar to one another, they should each take a unique approach to the same theme. (Note: Select pre-1975 posters; stay away from the categories of New Year’s prints, fat newborns, and pictures.)

2. Compare how the two posters you selected express their common theme in a three to four-page essay. This visual analysis essay is an exercise in comprehending the propaganda poster’s visual language (remember that propaganda posters are a type of mass political communication). Don’t forget to briefly characterize the posters’ themes, whether they are about hygiene, the Great Leap Forward, where women fit in, or images of Zhou Enlai. Try to look past the posters’ obvious profanity. Think examine the underlying assumptions of the image as well as the more subtly conveyed messages suggested by anything from the choices of style, composition, and color to motifs, symbolism, storyline, characters, etc. What is the message being communicated, how is it being communicated visually, and how does it move and persuade the viewer?

3. I’ve included a sample visual analysis report on EEE that should help you understand the visual components you need to take into account while writing such a paper.

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4. To fully grasp your issue, expect to conduct some basic web study on Communist Chinese history and culture. Make careful to mention your sources (for instance, if you chose the theme of the Great Leap Forward, describe it and cite where you learned it). You can research the sources Landsberger cites or use online resources (be careful and confirm the validity of any online sources you use, though). Note all sources, including any data you utilize from, in the footnotes once again.

5. All papers must have a title and be properly formatted and typed. The font should be 12 points, and the margins should not be wider than an inch. Verify your grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

6. Remember to write a thesis! Your thesis, your defense, and the breadth of your analysis will all be graded. Don’t explain the posters; instead, look at their aesthetic design. Your writing will also be judged, so strive for structure and clarity.



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