Communication and Culture | Gender and Communication (Topic: Gender, Culture, and Narrative)
C450 | 13162 | Lepselter, S.

TuTh, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 203

Instructor: Susan Lepselter
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 285
Phone: 856-3878

How is gender created, contested, circulated, and made meaningful
through narrative in different global settings? How do the stories
we tell produce both possibilities and limitations in the ways we
imagine masculinity, femininity and the transgression of
boundaries?  Most broadly, this class asks students to think
rigorously and creatively about gendered experience and its
representation in narrative.  We will study texts from multiple
cultural and historical arenas, from both far away and close to
home. We will look at various performances of gender and sexuality
within a wide range of narrative genres (both scholarly and
popular), including ethnography, fiction, film, memoir, the graphic
novel, and the Internet. Through lecture, students will be
introduced to relevant concepts in narrative and social theory.

Throughout the course, as we look from the familiar to the cross-
cultural, we will question what is meant by such seemingly obvious
oppositions as “male and female,”  “the body and the
imagination,” “heterosexuality and homosexuality,” and “the public
and the private.”  In stories that are sometimes explicitly and
sometimes implicitly about gender, we will think about how human
beings negotiate gender and sexuality from their positions in
familial, social, and global arenas.  We will explore ideas about
relationships, language and the self, from within the depiction of
such topics as: medicine, authority and the body; addiction and
anorexia; becoming an adult; sex-based practices of social
separation; work and home; fairy tales; and captivity, trauma and
memory. We will think about how gender is complicated by race and
class, and explore how subjectivity and intimacy are shaped by --
and escape -- forces of power.

Texts will include, in whole or in part:

Miller, Laura. Bad Girls of Japan
Mankekar, Purnima  “National Texts and Gendered Lives: An
Ethnography of Television Viewers in a North Indian City”
Abu-Lughod, Leila Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin
Paris is Burning
Radway, Janice Reading the Romance
Ginsburg, Faye and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Uncertain Terms:
Negotiating Gender in American Culture.