Gender Studies | Graduate Topics in Gender Studies: Gender, Media & the Politics of Celebrity
G701 | 14603 | Weber, B

This course will critically examine the role of the media – as
expressed through print, electronic, and filmic formats -- in
enabling, facilitating, or challenging the social construction of
gender and sexuality in a Western context.  The course will take as
a given that “gender” automatically references multiple identity
locations – both about femininity and masculinity – as well as about
race, class, sexuality, and sexual identity.  We will thus use bell
hooks’ more comprehensive definition for thinking about feminist
scholarship as the kind of engagements and provocations that
interrogate and seek to expose entrenched power differentials.  The
course will be interdisciplinary in approach, drawing from scholarly
materials that range across film studies, cultural studies, media
anthropology, and social history.  We will turn the second half of
the semester to a more concentrated analysis of celebrity, including
readings from “canonical” celebrity theorists like Richard Dyer and
Joshua Gamson as well as new contributions to the field from
scholars such as Su Holmes and Amelie Hastie.  Notions of fame
indicate the ways in which certain narratives and identities conform
to or depart from a set of normative values.

Since celebrity is both historically specific and culturally
produced, our examination of celebrity will move across several
modalities.  We will look to historical moments and to transnational
phenomena, guided by interdisciplinary discussions that think about
media culture, sociology, queer studies, race, and class – all in
full discussion with gender theory.