English | Studies in Popular Media and Mass Media
L210 | 2002 | Cherniavsky


1:00p-2:15p TR (70) 3 cr

TOPIC: GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND POPULAR CULTURE

This course will address the representation of genders and sexualities in
contemporary popular culture.  Although our focus will be on popular
culture of roughly the past decade, an initial unit will examine gender,
sexuality, and visual mass media in historical context.  What conventions
(traditions, norms, criteria) for the depiction of gendered and sexual
identity did early visual media, such as film, establish?  In the main
portion of the course, we will survey a range of current film, video,
television, and texts concerned with masculinity, femininity, feminism,
romance, marriage, heterosexuality, homosexuality, "outing," race, and
interracial sexuality.  Some  of the issues on which I expect to focus
during the course of the semester include:  the politics of the spectacle
(of seeing and being seen); the race-ing of sexuality and sexualizing of
race; the production of gender and sexuality as saleable body-images and
styles in the market economy of popular culture; the implication of new
technologies, especially of cybernetics and virtual reality, for the idea
of "the body" and embodied identities.

Course materials will likely include Toni Morrison's THE BLUEST EYE; short
fiction by John Varley and James Tiptree; videos from Madonna, Laurie
Anderson, No Doubt, Hole, Maggie Estep, and King Missile; episodes of
DESIGNING WOMEN, ROSEANNE, ELLEN, and CHICAGO HOPE; films such as JUNGLE
FEVER, LETHAL WEAPON III, and PUMPING IRON II.