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
- Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (E-reserve till books arrive, when you’ll find it in Thornham)
- Vesey and K. Lambert, “I Can Have It All”: Liz Lemon Negotiates Power, One Sandwich at a Time.”
- Nigro, Regina. “Women’s Work: ‘Damages’ and ‘The Good Wife’ look at female ambition.”
WEEK 2 Gender/Sexuality/Identity
- Gauntlett, David. Parts 1 & 2 (Introduction/Some Background Debates)
- 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
- Williams, Linda. “When the Woman Looks.”
September 30th: No class session—replaced by individual meetings. Readings still due.
- Doane, Mary Ann. “Film and the Masquerade.” (Thornham)
- Pressler, Jessica and Rovzar, Chris. “How Gossip Girl is changing the way we watch television.”
- Havrilesky, Heather. “Loaded.”
WEEK 5 Woman Meet Monster
- Clover, Carol. “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film.” (Thornham)
- 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
- Gauntlett, David. Parts 3 & 4. (Representations of Gender in the Past/Representations of Gender Today)
- Cresser, Frances , Lesley Gunn and Helen Balme. “Women’s experiences of on-line e-zine publication.” Media, Culture & Society 2001 23:457.
- Karas, Irene. “The Third Wave’s Final Girl: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
- Fudge, Rachel. “The Buffy Effect.”
- Callot. “The Expired Feminism of Joss Whedon.”
Fall Break-No Screening
October 19th: NO CLASS—FALL BREAK
- 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
**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.**
- Consalvo, Mia. “The Monsters Next Door.” [E-Reserve]
- 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
- Gledhill, Christine. “Pleasurable Negotiations” (Thornham)
- Hansen, Miriam. “The Return of Babylon: Rudolph Valentino and Female Spectatorship.” From Babel to Babylon. E-reserve.
- Optional background reading on Anger and Scorpio Rising
DIY Textual analysis due by Friday 11/5 by email attachment, header: GSM DIY
WEEK 10 Queer Media, Text or Subtext?
- Doty, Alexander. Flaming Classics. “Introduction.” [E-reserve]
- Gauntlett, David. Part 7. (Queer Theory and Fluid Identities)
- Kohnen, Melanie. “The Adventures of a Repressed Farmboy and the Billionaire Who Loves Him: Queer Spectatorship in Smallville Fandom.”
- Tuller, David. “Queer as Folk.”
- “Showtime seeks broad audience with gay and lesbian programming.”
- Additional reading on Sherlock TBA
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]
- 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.
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
- Kafai and Heeter, Part 2 (Gaming Communities, Girls and Women as Player) 47-124.
- Kennedy, Helen. “Laura Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis.” Game Studies 2:2 (2002)
December 2nd (Final Session/Party!)
- Kafai and Heeter, Part 4 (Changing Girls, Changing Games) 193-263.
- Gender and Fan Studies Debate Round 2 Parts 1, 2, and comments
- Screening Response 5 due Friday 12/3 via email on prompts from week 10 &/or 11]
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).