Week by Week Description

This course explores the intersecting roles played by gender and sexuality in our media, focusing specifically on film, television, and digital culture. As we unpack media texts from Rudolph Valentino’s Son of the Sheik to HBO’s True Blood, we investigate the multiple ways in which popular media texts construct and communicate gender and sexuality. We will analyze how viewers engage with and make sense of representations of gender and sexuality and integrate them into their everyday lives, and we will consider how gender and sexuality inform our experience of online social networking, blogging and journaling, media fandom, and video game culture. For final projects, students can write media analyses, conduct historical or online research, or integrate class ideas into creative works.


By the conclusion of this course, you will be able to

  • interrogate the role of gender and sexuality in cultural context
  • debate theories of gender and sexuality in film, television, and new media studies
  • incorporate theories of gender and sexuality into your own interpretations and analysis of media texts
  • sustain critical thought regarding the role of gender and sexuality in media, in written form
  • engage with all aspects of the writing process, from prewriting to drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading

WEEK 1 Introduction: Gender as Social Construction

Screening: 30 Rock (1.1) [PN1992.77 .T55987 v.1 2007D]; Damages (1.1/1.2) [PN1992.77 .D36 v. 1 2008D]

September 7

  • Intro/overview

September 9

WEEK 2 Gender/Sexuality/Identity

Screening: It [PN1997.I752 A1 2003D ], Mad Men (1.1) [PN1992.77 .M2335 v.1 2008D]

Sept 14th

  • Gauntlett, David. Parts 1 & 2 (Introduction/Some Background Debates)

Sept 16th

  • Sharot, Stephen. “The ‘New Woman’ Star Personas, and Cross-Class Romance Films in 1920s America. Journal of Gender Studies 19.1 (March 2010): 73-86. E-reserve.

WEEK 3 Constructing Gender: Spectatorship and Gaze Theory

Screening: Rebecca [MCTR 7822D]

Tuesday September 21st

  • Mulvey, Laura. “Afterthoughts on Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.”  (Thornham)

Thursday September 23rd

  • Doane, Mary Ann. “Caught and Rebecca.” (Thornham)
  • Modleski, Tania. “Woman and the Labyrinth: Rebecca.” The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory. Routledge: New York and London, 1989. 43-55. E-reserve.

Screening Response 1 due via email on Friday  9/24 [on prompts from week 1 &/or 2]

WEEK 4 The Woman Looks Back

Screening: Gossip Girl (1.1/1.7) [PN1992.77 .G6775 v.1 2008D ], Mad Men (1.6) [PN1992.77 .M2335 v.1 2008D]

September 28th

  • Williams, Linda. “When the Woman Looks.”

September 30th: No class session—replaced by individual meetings. Readings still due.

WEEK 5 Woman Meet Monster

Screening: Nightmare on Elm Street [PN1997.N5225 A1 1999 D]; Buffy (1.1) [MCTR 6960D]; Supernatural (1.1) [PN1992.77 .S847 v.1 2006D]

October 5th

  • Clover, Carol. “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film.” (Thornham)

October 7th

  • Williams, Linda. “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess.” (Thornham)

**Thursday, October 7th, at 4:30PM  University of Chicago’s Samuel Allison Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, Bruce Winstein will speak on “A Cosmologist Reflects on the Work of Michelangelo Antonioni.” I encourage you to attend and to write up your thoughts on Antonioni, science, and gender and sexuality in the class forums.**

Screening Response 2 due via email on Friday 10/8 [on prompts from weeks 3 &/or 4]

WEEK 6 The Woman Fights Back: Gender, Violence and the Final Girl

Screening: Buffy (7.22) [PN1992.77 .B84 v. 7 2006D Pt. 3]; Heroes (1.1) [PN1992.77 .H445 v. 1 2007D]; Dollhouse (1.6) [PN1992.77 .D6554 v.1 2009D]

October 12th

October 14th


Fall Break-No Screening


October 21st

  • Gauntlett, David. Part 6 (Michel Foucault, Discourses and Lifestyles)
  • Gauntlett, David. Part 8 (Men’s Magazines and Modern Male Identities)

Screening Response 3 due via email on Friday 10/22 [on prompts from week 5 &/or 6]

WEEK 8 The Stakes of Masculinity

Screening: Supernatural (4.16) [PN1992.77 .S847 v.4 2009D]; True Blood (1.1; 1.4) [PN1992.77 .T78 v.2 2010D]

**October 25th 6PM Magic Lantern Screening–details to follow.  This is a rare opportunity–I encourage you to go and to share your thoughts on the experience in the class forums.**

October 26th

  • Consalvo, Mia. “The Monsters Next Door.” [E-Reserve]

October 28th

  • Cohan, Steven. “’Feminizing’ the Song-and-Dance Man: Fred Astaire and the Spectacle of Masculinity in the Hollywood Musical.” Hollywood Musicals, The Film Reader. London & New York: Routledge, 2002. 87-101. E-reserve.

Proposal to final paper due on wordpress (at the indicated blog post) by Friday October 29th

WEEK 9 Masculinity as Spectacle

Screening: Scorpio Rising [MCTR 761 D c.2], The Son of the Sheik [MCTR 5398V]

November 2nd

  • Gledhill, Christine. “Pleasurable Negotiations” (Thornham)

November 4th

DIY Textual analysis due by Friday 11/5 by email attachment, header: GSM DIY

WEEK 10 Queer Media, Text or Subtext?

Screening: Smallville (1.1) [PN1992.77 .S62 v.1 2003D], Sherlock (1.1) , Queer as Folk (excerpt, 1.1) [PN1992.77 .Q8442 v.1 2007D]

November 9th

  • Doty, Alexander. Flaming Classics. “Introduction.” [E-reserve]
  • Gauntlett, David. Part 7. (Queer Theory and Fluid Identities)

November 11th

Screening Response 4 due via email on Friday 11/12 [on prompts from week 8 &/or 9]

WEEK 11 Gender/Identity/Digital Interpretation

Screening: Selected Vids [online link will be available for vid show for reviewing]

November 16th

  • Stacey, Jackie. “Feminine Fascinations.” (Thornham)
  • Cinema Journal–excerpts from In Focus section on “Feminism and Fandom” on e-reserve (by Busse, Coppa, Hellekson, and De Kosnik). E-reserve.

November 18th

Over the next two weeks, spend a few hours experimenting with a video game, either one you already have access to, one available at the department, or on various Second Life transmedia extensions (see the links in resources). Draw on your experience in your remaining 1 page paper, and also discuss your experiences in the forums.

  • Kafai and Heeter (Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat) Preface.
  • Kafai and Heeter, Part 1 (Reflections on a Decade of Gender and Gaming) 1-46.

Zine & Blurb due by Friday 11/19 by email (subject: ZINE) or hard copy in my office.

November 23rd/November 25th Thanksgiving Break

WEEK 12 New Media and the Stakes of Play

Screening: Tomb Raider [PN1997.2.L1728 A1 2007D] ; Selected machinima

November 30th

December 2nd (Final Session/Party!)

December 8th Final Paper/Projects due, by email, to me, header “GSM Final.” Hard copies of projects (video etc.) can be delivered to my office).

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