Gender Studies | Themes in the Study of Gender: Gender, Sexuality & the Media
G205 | 25465 | Gray, M

Gender, Sexuality and the Media is an introduction to queer
representations in U.S. popular cinema.  This course will introduce
students to the history of “queer” representations of sexuality and
gender as they are entwined and encoded in popular cinema in the
United States. We will examine how constructs of queer behavior and
body type are later transformed into modern notions of naturalized
identity. We will also interrogate commonly held and frequently
unquestioned assumptions about race, class, nationality, and ability
that are associated with queer representations. Students will
carefully study the traces of gender and sexual norms as they have
been constructed in the arch of mainstream U.S. cinema from the turn
of the 20th Century to the present. Using the lens of critical media
and cultural studies approaches, students will learn to read select
examples from this history towards understanding the broader
political economies and cultural contexts that shaped contemporary
understandings of sexuality and gender. Students will also learn to
analyze how past political and economic inequalities in the culture
industries might structure our current sense of what it means to be
a sexual and gendered person, especially what it means to
be “normal” and/or “queer.”