Cultural Studies | Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema
C701 | 29482 | Klinger

W, 1:00 PM-3:30 PM, WY 111
Required film screening: Tu, 7:15 PM-10:15 PM, WY 015

Meets with CULS-C 701 and AMST-G 751
Open to Graduates Only!

Instructor: Barbara Klinger
Office: C2 225
Phone: 855-1796

In this course, we will explore the manifestations of diverse kinds of
masculinities in Hollywood and independent cinema in the context of
social and historical developments in the United States in the 20th
and early 21st centuries. As a foundation, we will examine the deep
cultural roots of one of the most persistent (and one of the most
deconstructed) of masculine ideals—the rugged individualist—as he is
incarnated in the Western cowboy-hero and later embodied by heroes in
other kinds of films. We then study masculine types that depart from
this model, considering how ethnicity, race, homosexuality, and other
kinds of “difference” have figured in male portrayals, making the
depiction of masculinity in American cinema more complex than it might
at first appear. As we explore these depictions across American film
history and culture, we will discuss a range of other issues as well.
These include the way that star personas affect the audience’s
perception of masculinity; the impact of genres, such as Westerns,
melodramas, comedies, martial arts and action films, interracial buddy
movies, and superhero blockbusters—on notions of race and sexual
identity; and how representations of masculinity have worked in
relation to or against conceptions of national identity at various
historical moments. How do images of men in cinema figure into the
creation and transformation of what it
means to be an “American” at different times in the nation’s history?
To address these and other questions, we will read central works in
cultural history and film and gender studies, and analyze films
significant to our discussions. Further, examining how men appear on
screen ultimately sheds light on female images–the nature of male
roles helps to determine the constraints on and possibilities of
female roles, as well as on how the
interrelationship between the sexes is depicted.

Readings potentially include selections from: Richard Slotkin,
Gunfighter Nation; Robert Ray, A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood
Cinema; Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, eds., Screening the Male;
Steven Cohan, Masked Men; Tania Modleski, Feminism Without Women;
Yvonne Tasker, Spectacular Bodies; Ed Guerrero, Framing Blackness;
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble; Eve Sedgwick, Between Men; Richard
Dyer, Heavenly Bodies; Richard Dyer, White; Susan Jeffords,
Hardbodies; Gina Marchetti, Romance and the ‘Yellow Peril’; and essays
by Robyn Wiegman, Gaylyn Studlar, Miriam Hansen, and Richard Meyer.
Weekly screenings will show films that range from the silent period to
the present.

Students will be expected to do a series of presentations and to write
a term/research paper on a subject of their interest in gender and
media studies.