Communication and Culture | Current Topics in Communication and Culture
C334 | 2988 | Mary L. Gray

CMCL-C 334: Current Topics in Communication and Culture
(Topic: Queering Sexuality and Gender in the Media)
Class Number: 2988

(Fulfills COAS Intensive Writing Requirement)

A portion of this course is reserved for majors.

MW 1:00P-2:15P, TE F260

Professor: Mary L. Gray
Office: Mottier 214
Office Hours: MW 2:00P-3:30P and by appointment
Phone: 5-4379

Mediated representations of sexuality and gender permeate our daily
lives. The moments and ways these representations come together are
powerful in shaping how we come to think of who we are and what we
should aspire to be. This course will teach students to critically
analyze gender and sexuality as they are entwined and encoded in
popular media representation. We will examine how these constructs
of subjectivity interrelate to commonly held and frequently
unquestioned assumptions about race, class, nationality, and
ability. We will think about how our assumptions about gender and
sexual norms are shaped through and in turn shape several prominent
sites of popular culture: advertising, television, film, music,
and “cyberculture.” Students will learn to decode the messages and
meanings in select examples from each of these sites. Students will
also learn to understand how political and economic inequalities in
the culture industries structure our sexual and gender choices,
especially in terms of what it means to be “normal” and/or “queer.”

• Because this is a 300-level course, it will provide a focused
interrogation of current scholarship in the field.
• Course will be a mixture of lecture, small group discussion, and
film screenings; attendance will be taken daily and count towards
final course evaluation.
• Authors studied will include Joshua Gamson, Judith Halberstam,
Martin Manalanasan, Tricia Rose, and Suzanna Walters.
• Continues themes and ideas presented in C205: Introduction to
Communication and Culture.
• Designed to improve students’ abilities to critically examine the
representation of sexuality and gender in the media and its
relationship to social discourses addressing these topics—
particularly as they relate to the notions of “queerness” in late
• Assignments will include written reading summaries, a group
presentation and associated paper approximately 3-5 pages in length,
and a final paper approximately 8-10 pages in length.