Titles: A First Glimpse into the Thoughts, Opinions and Writings of an Author

Titles are the first thing we see when we are first introduced to a product or piece of work. Titles are everywhere; in books, magazines, movies, songs, paintings, sculptures,and  buildings. What kind of title captivates audiences to want more? What is the difference between a good title and a bad title? Is there such thing as a bad title? How does one articulate their entire writing using one sentence? These are the questions an author must think of before (or after) they produce their work, whatever it may be. For the purpose of this assignment, articles on Gender Studies will be explored.

Some titles are abstract and to the point, while others are followed by a subtitle or provide deeper insight by the use of a colon. Examples of simple titles include “Who Studies Women’s Studies?” by Marion Price and Mairead Owen and “The State of Gender Studies in Political Science” by Gretchen Ritter and Nicole Mellow. Price, Owen, Ritter and Mellow use titles that clearly state the article’s topic and focus of content. Both captivate the audience by inviting them to question the content. Price and Owen simplify this by using a question mark. Ritter and Mellow allude to the question: what is the state of an often controversial subject (Gender Studies) in a discipline that is built upon debate and conflict (Political Science). It is assumed that by reading this article, these questions will be answered.

In academic writing, it can be difficult to be creative with titles. When an author is creative it gives their article that much more of an edge.  Leora Audlander uses an interesting combination of mathematical symbols and punctuation to catch the audience’s attention in “Do Women’s + Feminist + Men’s + Lesbian and Gay + Queer Studies = Gender Studies?” References are also an interesting way to add creativity. In “To See and Hear Like Ophelia, or How Not to Take Leave of One’s Senses: Representations of the Madwoman in Youtube Culture” by Monika Sosnowska she references Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” comparing a historically popular character, Ophelia, to what is now arguably modern theatre “Youtube.” The interesting comparison is made possible by using a colonic title.

I am a huge fan of the colonic title. Simple titles are good to get a point across, however a more complex title (like a colonic title) gives room for creativity and clarification. From the list below I tried to find a wide range of titles, however colonic titles stood out. In conclusion, I think a title is quite dependent on the content of the articles and colonic titles would not always be necessary. However, the difference between a good title and a great title has proven itself to be about creativity and clarity, which a colonic title further allows.

1.”The State of Gender Studies in Political Science” by Gretchen Ritter, Nicole Mellow

2.”She Who Speaks Shadow Speaks Truth: Transdisciplinarity in Women’s and Gender Studies” by Irene Dolling, Sabine Hark

3.”The Selfish Gender, or the Reproduction of Gender Asymmetry in Gender Studies” by: T.V. Barchunova

4. “Ecofeminist Study of Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes in 1843” by: Sanjay D. Palwekar

5. “To See and Hear Like Ophelia, or How Not to Take Leave of One’s Senses: Representations of the Madwoman in Youtube Culture” by: Monika Sosnowska

6. “Female Sex Tourism in the Caribbean – A “Fair Trade” or a New Kind of Colonial Exploitation? – Tanika Gupta’s Sugar Mummies and Debbie Tucker Green’s Trade” by: Hildegard Klein

7. “Do Women’s + Feminist + Men’s + Lesbian and Gay + Queer Studies = Gender Studies?”by: Leora Auslander

8. “Gender Studies; New gender studies findings from National Institutes of Health” published by: Anonymous

9. “Who Studies Women’s Studies? ” by: Marion Price, Mairead Owen

10.”Global Trends: Gender Studies in Europe and the US” by: Giulia Calvi


Below I have included 5 practice titles that could be used for three hypothetical essays. Of the five practice titles, I favour the combination of colons and question marks. The use of both allows for a direct subject accompanied by the implication of the article’s content and answers to the question in the title. I also like to play on popular culture references, because popular subject matter is what will often grab a greater readership. The title “Trudeamania: A Recurring Phenomena or Living in the Shadows of Predecessor’s Fame?” combines all three of these title traits, and therefore is one of the stronger titles in my opinion.

1. Essay on Canadian Art History and the Cultural and Geological Impacts:

  • Northern River by Tom Thomson: The Harsh Realities of the Canadian Landscape
  • Cultural Appropriation of a Lost Land: Emily Carr and Indigenous Landscape Painting

2. Essay on History of Canadian Politics:

  • Trudeaumania: A Recurring Phenomena or Living in the Shadows of  Predecessor’s Fame?
  • Life after Jack Layton: Reconstructing a Legacy

3. Essay on Possibility of Pipelines:

  • Natural Gas Pipelines: What Means More, Preservation or Prosperity?
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