Disneyland is a fascinating place. Full of sights and sounds, people come from all over the world to experience ‘the magic kingdom’. Lots is going on, especially if you watch for it with an ethnographic eye.
Your assignment is to identify one of Disneyland’s socio-cultural patterns, observe it so you understand it fully, shoot photos to illustrate your understanding, and then shape those photos into a presentation. The presentation will be in full PechaKucha format: 20 slides, each advancing automatically after 20 seconds, to illustrate a six-minute and forty second talk. Your photos need to be good, but the focus is on ethnography as much as art. Show our audience patterns that they have never really seen.
I suggest that you avoid deciding on a topic until you have been at the park for at least 3 hours. That gives you time to learn something new.
In past years, students have produced excellent presentations on pin traders, goth culture, food, strollers, street sweepers, Disneyland-as-neighborhood park, and a host of other patterns. Be observant. There’s lots to find.
Here area a few ideas that you might wish to explore:
- What Disneyland means to park visitors
- Sub-Cultures at Disneyland
- Performers & Workers: roles, ideas, identities
- Marketing Disney: the ideal and the real
- The Invention of Tradition
- Back Stage
These are, of course, broad topics. You will want to narrow them, depending on what you observe and what you are able to shoot.
Finally, here are two of my own slide shows from past years, in PDF format. I can’t include my talk, of course, but the slides will give you an idea of what I had in mind.
- “A Small World?” [this show resulted in the article that Dr. Baber and I published in the Journal of Popular Culture ]
- “Disneyland for Kids“ [on various aspects of Disneyland kid-culture]