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Papper 1: Trade, Travel and Contamination – Trade and Xenophobia

Reading Response of – The Global Grapevine, “Tourist Troubles: The Travels of Global Rumor,” pp. 123-146.

Additional Readings in this section (for question 4 to do the comparison):

1. The Colossal Book of Urban Legends, “Funny Business,” pp. 265-283.
2. The Global Grapevine, “The Menace of International Trade,” pp. 147-173. 

Writing Guidelines:

 
11 or 12 point Times New Roman or Calibri font only
Double-spaced
One-inch margins on all sides
Numbered pages in upper right corner
Proper Citations Required (You may use footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations)
Your name, course number, and date on a separate cover sheet.
Separate works cited page
 
(Response papers that do not meet these guidelines will be penalized)
 

Format:

 
This paper should not merely be a summary of the reading itself. Rather, the paper will be graded based on the following inclusions:
 
1. An overview of the author’s main arguments (Approximately 3 or more pages)
2. What overall argument is the author making? What specific examples does the author focus on in the reading?
3. How is this argument being made? (e.g., What kind of data is being used by the author to support her argument?)
4. How does this argument support or refute arguments made by other authors in the section?
 
2. Your personal critical response to the reading (Approximately 2 pages)
3. What, if anything, do you find convincing about the argument being made?
4. What problems and/or oversights do you see in the reading?
5. What, specifically, do you think this article contributes to broader discussions of the topic?
 
Your essay should include:
 
1) an introductory paragraph providing a general overview (preview) of the main body of your essay and your conclusions
2) main body (summary and critical response)
3) concluding paragraph

 

Grading Rubric: 

 
Response papers will be graded according to the following criteria:
 
1. Content and Development (Total points: 80)
 
1. Paper addresses the main arguments and issue(s) raised: 50 Points

 
1. Critical response is substantive: 30 Points (Well-formed, thoughtful, and detailed responses to the reading. Minimum total of 5 double-spaced pages per paper.)
 
2. Mechanics (Total points: 10)
 
1. Rules of spelling, grammar, usage, and punctuation are followed: 10 Points

 
3. Readability and Style (Total points: 10)
 
1. Sentences are complete, clear, and concise, and the tone is appropriate to the content and assignment: 10 Points

 

100 points total per paper, 30% of your over grade.

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Response Paper Guidelines

Urban Legends

Winter 2021

Over the course of the quarter, you are required to submit a written response (fully five pages) to TWO

of the readings discussed in class. You will be assigned a group number (1-10) during the first week of

class. For these two assignments, each person in the group will be required to submit their response paper

on the corresponding due date listed on the syllabus and Canvas.

**You will need to submit these responses in your assignment folder as a PDF or Word Document**

**AGAIN, PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE PAPERS AS EITHER A WORD DOCUMENT OR

PDF**

**We are happy to provide feedback on your essay drafts. If you would like feedback, please submit your

draft to us at least 48 hours before the due date**

Writing Guidelines:

11 or 12 point Times New Roman or Calibri font only

Double-spaced

One-inch margins on all sides

Numbered pages in upper right corner

Proper Citations Required (You may use footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations)

Your name, course number, and date on a separate cover sheet.

Separate works cited page

(Response papers that do not meet these guidelines will be penalized)

Format:

This paper should not merely be a summary of the reading itself. Rather, the paper will be graded based

on the following inclusions:

1. An overview of the author’s main arguments (Approximately three or more pages)

a. What overall argument is the author making? What specific examples does the author focus on in the

reading?

b. How is this argument being made? (e.g., What kind of data is being used by the author to support her

argument?)

PLEASE NOTE: Your group number is for grading purposes only. You must write and

submit your own individual response paper.

To find your group number, go to the course Canvas site, select “People” on the menu on the

left side of your screen, then select the “Essay Groups” tab. If you do not see you name on

any of the group lists, please inform me and/or the TAs.

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c. How does this argument support or refute arguments made by other authors in the section?

(DON’T FORGET THIS!!)

2. Your personal critical response to the reading (Approximately two pages)

a. What, if anything, do you find convincing about the argument being made?

b. What problems and/or oversights do you see in the reading?

c. What, specifically, do you think this article contributes to broader discussions of the topic?

Your essay should include:

1) an introductory paragraph providing a general overview (preview) of the main body of your essay and

your conclusions

2) main body (summary and critical response)

3) concluding paragraph

Writing Tips:

1) Carefully proofread your final draft to minimize any spelling and grammatical errors
2) Avoid long, direct quotes from the reading. Paraphrase whenever possible
3) Book titles should be italicized (e.g., The Colossal Book of Urban Legends), whereas chapter and
article titles should be placed in quotations (e.g., “How Rumor Works”).

4) Don’t forget to provide a comparison to another reading from the course!

Grading Rubric:

Response papers will be graded according to the following criteria:

1. Content and Development (Total points: 80)

a. Paper addresses the main arguments and issue(s) raised: 50 Points

b. Critical response is substantive: 30 Points (Well-formed, thoughtful, and detailed responses to the

reading. Minimum total of 5 double-spaced pages per paper.)

2. Mechanics (Total points: 10)

a. Rules of spelling, grammar, usage, and punctuation are followed: 10 Points

3. Readability and Style (Total points: 10)

a. Sentences are complete, clear, and concise, and the tone is appropriate to the content and assignment:

10 Points

100 points total per paper

Since this course is heavily reliant on discussion, it is equally important that you be prepared to discuss

your reaction to your assigned readings in class. You should try to base your questions and reactions for

group discussion on broader issues that the article may or may not touch upon.

**These in-class discussions will only be useful if students come prepared to class having read the

assigned articles. Even if you are not assigned a paper response for the reading, you are obligated to come

to class prepared.**

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Final Portfolio
**PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE PAPERS AS EITHER A WORD DOCUMENT OR PDF**
As part of the course assignments, you are required to complete a final project that reflects on the major themes and questions developed throughout the quarter. This project is due on Sunday, March 14th at 11:59PM. ***LATE PROJECTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED***    The portfolio will contain a collection of six urban legends (with extensive analysis) covering each of our main subject areas (teen horrors, racial fears, conspiracy theories, supernatural stories, contamination/disease fears, technology fears). Your portfolio must include:  
1) An Introductory Statement:  This one-to-two-page statement should detail your process in finding and selecting your legends. It should also reflect on key class topics and themes that aided in your understanding of these legends. (10 points)  
2) Six personally collected narratives, with accompanying analysis.  Each narrative discussion should include the following:
·       Basic background information, including the person or source from whom you collected the narrative, and where that person in turn first heard it. Also, make a concerted effort to locate the narrative’s folk origins through consultation of class readings and/or internet inquiries (e.g., snopes). (30 points)
·       Identify and discuss what specific characteristics make this an urban legend/legend/rumor/memorate/truth claim. (We will discuss these categories in lecture) (10 points)
·       (Briefly) Narrative itself, including any variations or parallels found in class readings/discussions. (10 points)
·       Most importantly—One full page (or more) of analysis: How did this narrative fit course themes?  Is it believable, particularly to the storyteller? How might the narrative reinforce their beliefs about the world? Does the narrative hold an obvious social function or contain a clear moral message? Is it conveying a sense of anxiety or fear?  Use specific arguments and examples from both our class discussions and readings in your analysis! (40 points) 
3) Works Cited Page (APA preferred but MLA or Chicago acceptable)
Format:  This is meant to be a creative assignment; choose the format the best fits your set of legends. You may use illustrations, pictures, graphics, and specialized fonts at your leisure. You are also required to provide a works cited page.   
Topics:  This portfolio offers the opportunity to select legend topics of your choice. I encourage VARIETY, in both your sources and your themes. You must collect one narrative from each major course theme from this quarter (supernatural legends, race and urban legends, teen horror legends, travel/tourism/contamination legends, conspiracy theories, or legends relating to media and technology).  You may find legends online, from friends and family, through library sources, or in the media. Do not limit yourself to finding legends on snopes. At least four of the legends you collect must come via oral transmission from friends, relatives, or other in-person interactions (for pandemic safety purposes, video chat is preferred). If you experience difficulty in finding sources, please come talk to us! You must cite all sources (APA format preferred).
**Note: Please respect your respondents and their narratives. Use pseudonyms by default, and make sure you have their permission to use their stories for this portfolio.**
Grading:  Your final portfolio is worth a whopping 40% of your final grade. We will grade this final project based on your ability to fully engage and analyze the topics covered during this quarter. Do not skimp on your analysis. Do not try to put together your portfolio at the last minute. Exercise good judgment in your legend selections, and take the time to put together a thoughtful, visually interesting portfolio.
Submission: This project must be submitted through our website and is due on Sunday, March 14th by 11:59pm. Due to time constraints, late portfolios will not be accepted.

Urban Legends

Winter 2021

Final Portfolio Guidelines

As part of the course assignments, you are required to complete a final project that

reflects on the major themes and questions developed throughout the quarter. This project

is due on Sunday, March 14th at 11:59PM. ***LATE PROJECTS WILL NOT BE

ACCEPTED***

The portfolio will contain a collection of six urban legends (with extensive analysis)

covering each of our main subject areas (teen horrors, racial fears, conspiracy theories,

supernatural stories, contamination/disease fears, technology fears).Your portfolio must

include:

1) An Introductory Statement: This one-to-two page statement should detail your process

in finding and selecting your legends. It should also reflect on key class topics and

themes that aided in your understanding of these legends. (10 points)

2) Six personally collected narratives, with accompanying analysis. Each narrative

discussion should include the following:

• Basic background information, including the person or source from whom you

collected the narrative, and where that person in turn first heard it. Also, make a

concerted effort to locate the narrative’s folk origins through consultation of class

readings and/or internet inquiries (e.g., snopes). (30 points)

• Identify and discuss what specific characteristics make this an urban

legend/legend/rumor/memorate/truth claim. (We will discuss these categories in

lecture) (10 points)

• (Briefly) Narrative itself, including any variations or parallels found in class

readings/discussions. (10 points)

• Most importantly—One full page (or more) of analysis: How did this narrative

fit course themes? Is it believable, particularly to the storyteller? How might the

narrative reinforce their beliefs about the world? Does the narrative hold an

obvious social function or contain a clear moral message? Is it conveying a sense

of anxiety or fear? Use specific arguments and examples from both our class

discussions and readings in your analysis! (40 points)

Format: This is meant to be a creative assignment; choose the format the best fits your

set of legends. You may use illustrations, pictures, graphics, and specialized fonts at your

leisure. You are also required to provide a works cited page.

Topics: This portfolio offers the opportunity to select legend topics of your choice. I

encourage VARIETY, in both your sources and your themes. You must collect one

narrative from each major course theme from this quarter (supernatural legends, race

and urban legends, teen horror legends, travel/tourism/contamination legends,

conspiracy theories, or legends relating to media and technology). You may find

legends online, from friends and family, through library sources, or in the media. Do not

limit yourself to finding legends on snopes. At least four of the legends you collect must

come via oral transmission from friends, relatives, or other in-person interactions (for

pandemic safety purposes, video chat is preferred). If you experience difficulty in finding

sources, please come talk to us! You must cite all sources (APA format preferred).

**Note: Please respect your respondents and their narratives. Use pseudonyms by

default, and make sure you have their permission to use their stories for this portfolio.**

Grading: Your final portfolio is worth a whopping 40% of your final grade. We will

grade this final project based on your ability to fully engage and analyze the topics

covered during this quarter. Do not skimp on your analysis. Do not try to put together

your portfolio at the last minute. Exercise good judgment in your legend selections, and

take the time to put together a thoughtful, visually interesting portfolio.

Submission: This project must be submitted through our website and is due on Sunday,

March 14th by 11:59pm. Due to time constraints, late portfolios will not be accepted.

1

i. Teen Horrors

My friend, ****, who is a student at ********* Community College told me this story,

which they said they heard in high school (****** ***** High School) from their English

teacher, who told them it had happened to his cousin’s friend when she (the cousin’s friend) was

in highschool herself. **** did not seem to necessarily believe the story, but they thought it was

“creepy and interesting.”

According to the story, there was a teenage girl whose parents were out of town for the

weekend, and she was home alone with just her dog. She hears some strange sounds outside of

her house, and she feels creeped out by it, so she locks the doors and brings her dog into her

bedroom with her and has him sleep under the bed–but she forgets to lock the windows. She

wakes suddenly in the middle of the night; she’s not sure what woke her up, but she’s just

overcome with fear. There’s a strange dripping sound coming from her bathroom, but she’s too

afraid to get up and go see what it is. She can hear her dog panting under her bed, so she reaches

down and pets his head and he licks her hand, and she feels reassured and falls back to sleep. In

the morning, she goes to use the bathroom and discovers her dead dog, hung over the shower

curtain rod and bleeding out (the source of the dripping sound). She realizes that what was under

her bed the previous night when she heard the dripping was not her dog; it couldn’t have been an

animal, either, because it had been able to open the window to get in, and had slit her dog’s

throat with a knife and hung it over the shower rail; she screams and runs to her neighbor’s

house, and when she tells her neighbor what happened, the neighbor says it must have been “the

Dog-Headed Man” who has already killed several other young girls, and says that she is lucky to

be alive.

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“The Dog-Headed Man” would be classified as an urban legend. I was talking about this

story with my father, and he told me he’d heard it as well, only in the version he had heard it was

a blind old lady and a werewolf (in this version the elderly woman had not locked her door,

because she had been expecting a caretaker or one of her children, my dad couldn’t remember

which, to come over in the morning and had wanted to make sure they could get in; he grew up

in Santa Ana, so it was also localized to the Black Star Canyon), and the story was also listed in

Too Good to Be True as “The Licked Hand” (61-62), and on Wikipedia as “Humans Lick Too,”

with the Dog-Headed Man/werewolf in both of these versions as a human serial killer (this

version omits the part where the female character pets the man’s head, and focuses on the licked

hand), and in these versions the killer scrawls on the mirror in blood some variation of “Humans

Can Lick, Too” on the mirror. The story seems to date back to at least the 80s, although Snopes

cites the licked hand motif as showing up as early as 1871, in a diary written by Dearman

Birchall who tells the story of a clergyman who was woken in the night by his wife who insisted

there was a robber on the bed; the man tells his wife that the noise is just their dog, as it had

licked his hand, and the couple goes back to sleep and wakes in the morning to find all their

valuables have been stolen.

The story does not generally seem to be believed (except perhaps by children at slumber

parties), so what may be keeping it around is that it does seem to create a lot of emotion–in this

case feeling “creeped out”/afraid, which follows from Stubberfield, Tehrani, and Flynn’s claim

that emotional affect is what causes urban legends to be passed on (the authors focus on the

emotion of disgust, but assert that other emotions work in this way as well) (23). That being

said, what may still seem believable about it is not only the underlying societal fears it speaks to,

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but because it echoes the concern (in the versions where the “licker” is human) that we may not

know what other people will do, or what they are capable of.

The urban legend seems to speak primarily to fears about teenage (and especially female)

autonomy and vulnerability. This is abundantly clear in the version I collected from ****, where

a young girl is left without parental protection and isn’t careful enough about her safety, but fears

about female vulnerability are also still present in the versions where the protagonist is elderly,

although this version also emphasizes the specific vulnerabilities of age/disability, and

potentially offers more of a sense of the failure of her caretaker/children for not being there for

her, or alternatively a sense of the old lady’s naivete in leaving the door unlocked for them

(perhaps centered in a sense of fear over changing times and a “new” lack of safety), rather than

the carelessness of the protagonist. The “Dog-Headed Man” also seems to fit the general

dynamics of other teenage legends such as The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs (Brunvand 230),

which reflects fear surrounding, again, feminine teenaged vulnerability and a lack of awareness

of how immediate a threat may be, and especially The Roommate’s Death/Aren’t You Glad You

Didn’t Turn on the Light (Brunvand 468), which not only has those same themes of

vulnerability/unawareness, but also additional narrative similarities such as the message scrawled

in blood, and the sense of uncertainty–that what we think we know as safe or familiar may

actually be highly dangerous. It is interesting to note that Snopes even lists the Licked Hand

version of the story under “Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn on the Light” because of those

parallels in narrative and underlying fears. In terms of behavior modification, this story can

serve to limit/control young women; it generally calls for an increase in caution/vigilance, and

the emphasis on the house as a place which can be made secure, but which has been foolishly left

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vulnerable serves to remind teens not only that they need to stay at home when their parents are

out, but also to take responsibility and be very careful about maintaining the safety of the home.

Teenage Horror and Travel Legend

“The Dormroom Death”

This story comes from a coworker of mine who is also a student at UCI. He, in turn, had

heard the story from his resident advisor during his first year of college, living in the dorms. This

story is fairly widespread throughout the UCI community, passed on among students. The

rendition offered to me by my coworker follows the same storyline that I had heard during my

first year at UCI. The story, as told to me by my coworker, was told to me in the parking garage,

overlooking Mesa court, where the story takes place.

“A long time ago in Prado Hall (in Mesa Court Housing Community) there was a dancer.

She was really stressed out about one of her dance auditions, so one day she decided she was

done and killed herself by hanging herself on the ceiling fan in her room. She is found by her

roommate and that’s why there are no ceiling fans in any of the dorms. The dancer now haunts

the Prado hall, especially the room that she died. Now any time people are in Prado Hall and

hear noises, it’s the dancer still practicing for her audition.”

The story could be some variation of “The Roommate’s Death” as discussed in The

Vanishing Hitchhiker. The roommate of the deceased is the one to find the dancer in their room.

As in “The Roommate’s Death,” this story also involves the death of a young woman, but instead

of being attacked by a strange man, the dancer in “The Dormroom Death” commits suicide

(Brunvand 57). “The Dormroom Death” for UCI only dates back to the 1970s, as seen in the

narrative published by New University in 2006. This version is also more dramatized to engage

its audience:

“In the 1970s, a student committed suicide in her room in Prado, a residence hall in

Mesa Court. Purportedly, she was a dance major living in one of the single rooms in Prado, one

of the two art halls in Mesa Court. Rumors say that before her suicide, she had been stressed out

for an upcoming dance audition, and hanged herself from the ceiling fan of her room. Although

her window blinds were down, people outside could see her silhouette spinning. However, they

thought she was practicing her dance routine. Eventually, residents from a neighboring hall

noticed that she was hanging from a rope”(Won, Wong, Tsay, Dubrow, & Backus).

When looking into the story further, there is revealed to be no archival information

linking this supposed suicide to an actual event (Lam).

“The Dormroom Death” would be classified as an urban legend. “The Dormroom Death”

legend has ties to long established rumors, such as “The Roommate’s Death.” The story has lived

on as a single moment that has happened in past, with no person connected to the original

narration, which disqualifies it from being a memorate or truth claim. “The Dormroom Death” is

told in an elaborate, story-telling manner that makes it an urban legend and not a rumor.

“The Dormroom Death” covers course themes about violence through the legend

narrative. Although in “The Roommate’s Death” the victim dies at the murderous hands of some

unknown stranger, in the UCI variation, the violent death comes at the dancer’s own hands

(Brunvand 58). The version published in New University gives more of a twisted story of “The

Dormroom Death,” as people had only thought she was practicing at first and had not realized

that she was dying. If someone had realized sooner, she could have been saved. This is also

similar to “The Roommate’s Death,” where if the roommate had opened the doors to the

scratches on the door, she could have saved her roommate (Brunvand 58). The story as narrated

to me by my coworker is believable and entirely possible. When I asked my coworker who had

told me the story if he thought it was true he replied, “Yeah, because it happens often.” The idea

of a student being pushed towards suicide because of increased pressures caused by an important

exam, or in this case, audition, is not easily dismissed. However, doubt can be cast on this story

as the dancer chooses to kill herself by hanging herself on the ceiling fan, but none of the dorms

in Mesa Court have ceiling fans.

The legend is placed in the 1970s, on the tails of the civil rights era and could be a

commentary on women’s rights. With the newfound freedom to study and be away from home,

the young woman is rife with stress and cannot handle the responsibility that comes with being a

student. This theme is also present in the original “The Roommate’s Death,” where the women

are away from home and participating in activities that are not feminine (Brunvand 61). The

payment, like the dancer in “The Dormroom Death,” for diverting from societal expectations is

death (Brunvand 61). The anxiety that is present comes from changing gender roles. The story is

told during a time where women were entering the public sphere, participating in activities that

had primarily been reserved for men.

The Disney Conspiracy

Growing up I had heard several conspiracies about the happiest place on earth,

Disneyland. A close friend of mine, Nathanial ******* is a huge Disney fan and a self-

proclaimed expert on all things Disney. I turned to him when looking for a conspiracy theory

involving Disneyland. For a good setting, Nate chose for us to meet at Disneyland where he

shared with me the several theories he had heard of. What was interesting about his narratives,

was that he did not attempt to convince me that they were true, nor did he subscribe to the belief.

Instead, he found them funny and entertaining; nevertheless, the conspiracy theories exist. This

can be defined as a legend since it involves human characters, and there are variations of the core

theory at the local and regional level (Dewan, 9/27).

There were several that revolved around Walt Disney himself. The conspiracy theory

legend Nate focused on was that Walt Disney was a racist and promoted his beliefs through

“racist subliminal messages” in his films. Walt Disney aimed to send these messages to the

young and vulnerable, to have more support. So, the films we thought were fun and happy were

to influence these developing brains on “how to be racist”. Examples include characters depicted

as part of a certain social group such as the Indians in Peter Pan which was said to mock Native

Americans. Lady and the Tramp and The Little Mermaid have been said to have purposely had

its characters have a specific look and speak a certain way to reflect a particular ethnicity.

As Walt Disney’s films exploded in the 1930s, he made earned his place in Hollywood.

Nate said that he had primarily heard the theory from elderly family members; his grandmother

was first who innately believed it to be true. In Peter Knight’s Conspiracy Culture, he says that

conspiracies are “marked by a routine air of cynicism as people are prepared to believe the worst

about the world they live in – even if they also show a nostalgic gullibility” (Knight 2000: 3).

Furthermore, people want to believe the worst, they want a scapegoat, and want to feel in

control. With this, it makes it a conspiracy theory because it is creating an “us vs. them”, we

being to doubt something that becomes so immersed in our world and start to seek out what we

think may be true. In this case, viewers watch a Disney film and pick apart any notion that may

seem racist, to justify the belief and then the conspiracy theory thrives (Dewan, 10/25). Knight

says that it is important to understand the historical context of times of paranoia (Knight 2000:

8). With its’ growing popularity, came a growing parental fear of the films effects on their

children. Other than what Knight says is the cynicism of the people, why did this theory of the

supposedly fun and happy children’s films have wicked, underlying motives emerge?

Another analysis could be that that presents the fear of losing agency by this unseen force

(subliminal messages) in the films.

This lies on a particular Western

notion of individualism, which I can

tie into what we discussed in class

that the creation of this conspiracy

theory is an attempt at trying to

reinforce agency (Dewan, 10/25). By expressing suspicion, parents are gaining their agency, in

other words, they are showing that they are in control of what an outside force is pressing on

their children. Nate told me that some parents that he had heard it from, refrained from showing

their children films such as Peter Pan and The Jungle Book. Being a parent at the boom of

Disney films could sprout all kinds fears and anxieties over protecting their children. Disneylore

does not end at Walt Disney being racist in his films, there are several other stories similar to this

and share an underlying cultural logic. Another common idea is the sexual advances and

innuendos which can speak to the underlying fear of not controlling our children’s sexual lives.

Nevertheless, in the mid 1900s, there was much racial insensitivity which is reflected in the

racist theories about Disney’s films. This conspiracy theory legend can be working to represent

the attitudes and beliefs of Americans at the boom of Walt Disney’s fame, picking apart

everything he does.

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