(RHET 400) Animated Movies – Phase 1 Research

April 1, 2009

In this research session I was trying to expand my primary source material. Seeing how I’m researching cartoons (animated movies) across cultures, my primary sources would be the cartoons. I’m using a predominantly non-scholarly approach to my research and, in any case, non of the formal databases offered by school are cartoon or movie databases . It thus follows that my main search engines/databases were google and youtube.

When I first began researching I used phrases like “Japense anime/anima” or “Iranian animated movies” and their equivalent for other countries. But then as I got lists of names and could narrow it down: for example,Mahayoddha Rama, Arjun, Ghatotkach (Indian cartoon characters, the last one is a superhero) or Parrapa the Rappa and Kum Kum (Japanese characters). When looking up Iranian cartoons, I came across one that talks about suicide bombings. A cartoon for kids about how to commit suicide (martyrdom) in the name of God (very interesting). Another interesting source was an animated movie titled The Prince of Egypt and a brief description of what the movie is about goes as follows: “An Egyptian prince learns of his identity as a Hebrew and, later his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people”. The directors and writers are non-Egyptians, and the three I could find info on were Americans.

This research session was helpful insofar as it put my mind at ease regarding primary sources: I was worried I won’t be able to find actual cartoons, but I did. I am now considering limiting the scope to focus on Eastern cartoons. Then again, coming across the tidbit about Iran (and I am a big, big fan of Iran) made me curious and I considered even limiting it to just Iran and the impact these cartoons might have on children living in Islamic, post-revolutionary Iran. In short, while researching made me focus more and put my hands on tangible material, it also opened up new doors and windows (possibly ceilings as well) and I am now probably less sure about which angle I am going to tackle.

That said, though I am panicking, I’m still not completely and utterly aggravated. It was very interesting getting introduced to the different cartoon characters and now I just need to ground myself: I was (and still am) in the data collecting phase and now (or pretty soon) need to shift in a “formulating a framework and synthesizing an argument” one.

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