Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Chair

Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Chair Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 2

Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 2 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 3

Vanessa Murphree

Committee Member 3 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 4

Phillip Gentile

Committee Member 4 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 5

Fei Xue

Committee Member 5 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

This study is comprised of a five-point qualitative critical analysis of denotation strategies employed in the first three seasons of The Boondocks Animated Series, which aired on United States cable television between 2005 and 2011. The five encoding strategies discussed in this study were selectively employed into each episode by the cast and crew of The Boondocks Animated Series. The encoding strategies were employed to facilitate audience accessibility between 2005 and 2011 during The Boondocks Animated Series’ successful initial run on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block.

This study focuses on the first three seasons of The Boondocks Animated Series, produced under the guidance of franchise creator Aaron McGruder. The three seasons of The Boondocks Animated Series that comprise this study's sample aired on the Cartoon Network's late-night “Adult Swim” programming block in forty-five half hour episodes. The study ignores the fourth season of The Boondocks Animated Series due to the lack of creative input from McGruder. Prior to The Boondocks Animated Series' truncated finale season, McGruder singlehandedly oversaw production of his singular creative vision between the 1996 debut of The Boondocks Comic Strip. McGruder's efforts to translate the source material into The Boondocks Animated Series necessitated incorporation of encoding strategies to expand the 1996-2005 audience of The Boondocks Comic Strip.

The theoretical and structural framework of these chapters are heavily inspired by critical textual reading model developed by British critical commentator Stuart Hall. Adherence to Hall's Encoding/Decoding model and Hall's Preferred / Negotiated / Oppositional Reading Model frames this study within a framework of existing scholarship that incorporate the tenets of critical race theory. A negotiated reading of encoding strategies incorporated into The Boondocks Animated Series is presented across the five chapters that comprise this study.

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