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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: Film and Gender (CLLC11145)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFilm and Gender examines the ways in which gender is constructed and performed across a range of moving image forms and genres. The course will introduce students to a wide range of theoretical frameworks and help them to develop analytical approaches responsive to moving image texts.

Teaching methods and assessment models are designed to work both for students with a background in film studies and gender studies; and for students without formal training in these fields who bring an interest in pursuing studies in gender and representation.
Course description Week One: Representing Gender
Screenings ¿ From Bromances to Post-Feminist Chicks
This week¿s screenings are drawn from a range of contemporary popular culture texts which play with notions of gender and its on-screen performance.
30 Rock (Tina Fey, NBC 2012)
Girls (Lena Dunham, HBO 2012)
Flight of the Conchords (James Bobin, HBO 2010)
Peep Show (Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, Channel 4 2012)
Workshop: Analysing Gender
This workshop will introduce students to the analysis of gender within media representations. Working with still images sourced by the students, we will consider how ideologies of masculinity and femininity are encoded and decoded. Students will then explore how the analysis of moving image representations might require expanded models of analysis.

Week 2: Theories of Gender
Screening Hairspray John Waters
This seminar will examine key theories of gender, drawing on the range of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary framings which have fed into film studies ¿ including literary theory, art history, feminist theory, sociology, performance studies, queer studies and social psychology . It will explore tensions between different theories of gender - especially between essentialist approaches and models of gender as socially constructed ¿ and consider how these tensions play out in the analysis of the moving image, especially in the ways Waters¿ queer sensibility and excess disturb essentialist notions, as does the use of cross-gender casting.

Week Three: Gender and Other Differences
Screening Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori)
This week¿s workshop is built around the screening of Once Were Warriors . The film, an adaptation of the novel by , made a significant ¿ and unusual ¿ impact in its native New Zealand, provoking a national debate around domestic violence and child abuse. Set within the indigenous Maori community the film offers one way of thinking about the intersections between gender and other kinds of identity: nationality, ethnicity and class.
Close analysis of this film will be used as a way to work out from ways of approaching cinema as centred on narrative and character function, to look at other ways that gender might be performed within a film text through mise-en-scene, sound and editing, and through the interplay between realist genres and melodrama.
Week Four: Gender and Genre
Screening Gilda (King Vidor, 1946)
This week¿s workshop looks at how genre plays out in gendered forms. Using film noir as a case study, it will examine the ways in which character function ¿ anti-heroes and femmes fatales; narrative, soundtrack and mise-en-scene work to represent gender on-screen. Close analysis of the screening and focussed reading around film noir will build students¿ knowledge of the techniques of film analysis and of the language of film theory, before moving into the complex field of spectatorship studies.

Week Five: Spectatorship
Screening Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)
This week¿s seminar is centred around Laura Mulvey¿s foundational feminist intervention into film theory ¿Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema¿. It will explore the way in which Mulvey extended the apparatus theory developed from Metz and Baudry to expose and critique film theory¿s blindspots on gender. The seminar will include an introduction to the ideas drawn from psychoanalysis which proved so generative for theorising cinema and gender.
Week Six : Performing Masculinity
Screening Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999)
This workshop explores the ways in which film performs masculinity through performance, body and gesture; and through multiple masquerade and fantasy. Using Steve Neale¿s seminal article, we¿ll examine the problematics of the male body being put on display, and the recourse to onscreen violence as a means to manage the anxieties provoked by male bodies being looked at. We will also consider how and why Fight Club has functions as a film that holds special resonance for critics and for broader audiences ¿ moving beyond textual analysis to address questions of reception and mediation.
Week Seven: Alternative Models of Spectatorship
Screening Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)
Theories of Spectatorship II opens up alternative approaches to moving image spectatorship, moving through Mary Ann Doane¿s adoption of masquerade theory to propose a model of cross-gender spectatorship; through the uses and abuses of fantasy theory to considering what more recent thinking on haptic cinema, digital culture and embodiment might have to offer the framing of gender across different screens.

Week Eight: Queer Theories
Screening: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972)

This week¿s workshop explores key theorists and ideas in the evolution of queer theory. In addition to the selected film,
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, the workshop will also consider queer readings of other films studied over the course.

Week Nine: Hearing Gender
Screening: 10 (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 2002)
Much film theory is built around metaphors of vision; and this tendency has been ever more strongly pronounced in work on gender and spectatorship which has predominantly focussed on notions of scopophilia and sight. Sound has been generally neglected in the study of gender and representation. This workshop will open up the consideration of sound as a critical space, focussing on Kiarostomi¿s film 10 ¿ a film which plays with what can and cannot be said and heard.

Weeks Ten and Eleven: Student Presentations

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 25/09/2014
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Formative Assessment Hours 30, Summative Assessment Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 81 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 3,000 word essay (75%)
Group presentation (25%)

The final sessions of the course are dedicated to student presentation work. Students are encouraged to work with material which expands the scope of material covered in the course. The presentations are assessed on how successfully the group has worked as a team; choice of texts and relevant critical reading; ability to connect with an audience; use and generation of supporting material. Students will be given face to face feedback for their presentations and will also be given scheduled time for guidance and feedforward on presentation research. As presentations are not assessed on written content, students can, if desired, develop ideas from presentation work into their final assignment.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course students will have:

acquired a critical understanding of key theories of gender and identity

been introduced to different modes of film analysis.

become familiar with significant critical debates within film studies; including work on narrative, genre, spectatorship and performance

gained experience of analysing a diverse selection of moving image texts through structured seminar activities

developed informed readings of moving image texts through presentation work; and through written assignments.
Reading List
Critical research on gender and representation is extensive and spans a range of disciplines. The weekly required reading will take you through the most significant contributions in the development of film theory; gender, representation and the moving image. There is supplementary reading indicated for most week¿s themes. You are encouraged to build your own bibliography through independent research for your final assignment and course tutors will be happy to advise further on this.
Many key weekly readings are drawn from Sue Thornham¿s edited reader which is recommended for purchase on this course. Other required weekly readings have online links indicated below.

Recommended Reader
Sue Thornham (1999) Feminist Film Theory: A Reader. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

Week One: Representing Gender
John Berger (1972) Ways of Seeing London: BBC and Penguin Books
Ways of Seeing (BBC, 1972)
Stuart Hall ([1973] 1980): 'Encoding/decoding'. In Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Ed.): Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79 London: Hutchinson, pp. 128-38.
Available online at:
See also Daniel Chandler¿s Semiotics for Beginners at

Background Readings
John Alberti (2013)¿ ¿I Love You, Man¿: Bromances, the Construction of Masculinity, and the Continuing Evolution of the Romantic Comedy,¿ in Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 30:2, 159-172
Available online at:
Karen Boyle & Susan Berridge (2012): I Love You, Man, Feminist Media Studies,
2012 Available online at:
Angela McRobbie (2009) ¿Illegible Rage: Post-Feminist Disorders¿ in The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change London; Sage.
Angela McRobbie (2004): Post¿feminism and popular culture, Feminist Media Studies, 4:3, 255-264
Available online at:
Gill, R. (2007) ¿Postfeminist Media Culture: Elements of a Sensibility¿, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10(2): 147-166.
Available online at:

Week 2: Theories of Gender
Linda Alcoff (1988) ¿Cultural Feminism versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory¿ in Signs 13 (Spring, 1988): 405-436.
Available online at:

Judith Butler (1988) ¿Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory¿ in Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1988) pp. 519-531Available online at;
West, C., and Zimmerman, D. H (1990) ¿Doing Gender¿ in The Social Construction of Gender eds Lorber, Judith and Farrell, Susan. London: Sage.
Available online at:

Week Three: Gender and Other Differences
Peggy McIntosh (1988) ¿White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack¿

Cornelius Martin Renes (2011)¿ Once Were Warriors, but how about Maoritanga now? Novel and film as third space¿ in miscelanea 44

Week Four: Gender and Genre
Julie Grossman, Rethinking the Femme Fatale in Film Noir: Ready for Her Close-Up (London: Palgrave/BFI, 2009)

¿ Emma Whiting, ¿Dangerous Women and the Abject in the Noir Thriller¿, Crimeculture, 2005
Additional Readings
¿ Julianne Pidduck, The ¿fatal femme¿ in contemporary Hollywood film noir: reframing gender, violence, and power, Masters Thesis, Concordia University, 1993
¿ Deborah Walker, ¿Re-reading the Femme Fatale in Film Noir: an evolutionary perspective¿, The Journal of Moving Image Studies, Vol. 5, No. 6

Week Five: Spectatorship
Laura Mulvey (1975) ¿Visual pleasure and narrative cinema¿ in Screen 16:3
And collected in Thornham pp58-69
Laura Mulvey (1981) ¿Afterthoughts on ¿Visual Pleasure and narrative cinema¿ in Thornham, pp122 -130
Additional Reading
Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener ¿Cinema as eye : look and gaze¿ Chapter 4 in Film Theory: an introduction through the senses, London: Routledge, 2010, pp 82 -107
E-resource in UoE Library
Teresa de Lauretis (1984) ¿Oedipus Interruptus¿ in Alice Doesn¿t: Feminsim, Semiotics, Cinema. London: MacMillan; and in Thornham pp 83-96

Week Six : Performing Masculinity

Dyer, Richard (1997) ¿The Matter of Whiteness¿, in White: Essays on Race and Culture New York and London: Routledge, pp. 1-40

Neale, Steve (1993) ¿Masculinity as Spectacle¿ in Cohan, Steven, and Hark, Ina Rae (eds.) Screening the Male London: Routledge, pp. 9 ¿ 20.

Kaja Silverman(1992) ¿The Dominant Fiction¿ in Male Subjectivity at the Margins. New York and London:Routledge. 15-51.

Additional Readings

Holmlund, Chris (1993) ¿Masculinity as Multiple Masquerades¿ in Cohan, Steven, and Hark, Ina Rae (eds.) Screening the Male London: Routledge
Claire Sisco King (2009): It Cuts Both Ways: Fight Club, Masculinity, and Abject
Hegemony, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 6:4, 366-385
Available online at:

Slade, Andrew ¿To Live Like Fighting Cocks: Fight Club and the Ethics of
Masculinity, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 28:3, 230-238
Available online at: and
Yvonne Tasker, Spectacular bodies: gender, genre and the action cinema, PhD Thesis, University of Warwick, 1995

Week Seven: Alternative Models of Spectatorship
Mary Ann Doane (1982) ¿Film and the Masquerade: theorising the female spectator¿ in Screen 23: 3; and collected in Thornham pp131-145
hooks, bell. ¿The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators.¿ The feminism and visual culture reader. Amelia Jones, ed. London: Routledge, 2003, pp. 94-105.
Joan Riviere ¿Womanliness as Masquerade¿ collected in Formations of Fantasy, eds
Burgin, Donald and Kaplan, Methuen: London, 1986 (1929), pp 35 -44
Online links:

Charles Soukup (2009): Techno-Scopophilia: The Semiotics of Technological Pleasure in Film, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 26:1, 19-35
Available online at:
Valerie Walkerdine (1986) ¿Video Replay: Families, Films and Fantasy¿ in Burgin et al eds. Formations of Fantasy, London; Routledge and collected in Thornham, pp 180-195

Week Eight: Queer Theories

Judith Butler, (1993 )¿Critically Queer¿ in Bodies That Matter . New York and London: Routledge, 223-242

Richard Dyer (2003) Now You See It: studies on lesbian and gay film 2nd edition with Julianne Pidduck. London: Routledge.
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1990)¿Axioviatic¿ from The Epistemology of the Closet. University of California Press. Also collected in The Cultural Studies Reader ed Simon During, Routledge, 1993 and available online:

Additional Readings
Aaron, Michele (2004)¿New Queer Cinema: An Introduction¿ in New Queer Cinema: A
6-7:35 pm Critical Reader. Ed. Michele Aaron. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. 3-14.
Doty, Alexander(2000) ¿There¿s Something Queer Here¿ in The Film Studies Reader, J. Hollows, P. Hutchings & Mark Jancovich, eds. London: Edward Arnold

Week Nine: Hearing Gender

Judith Halberstam (2007) ¿Keeping Time with Lesbians on Ecstasy¿ in Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 11 (2007) 51-58
Available online at:
Judith A. Peraino (2007) ¿Listening to Gender: A Response to Judith Halberstam¿ inWomen and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 11 (2007) 59-64
Available online at:
Kaja Silverman The Acoustic Mirror: the female voice in psychoanalysis and cinema. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press
Available online at:

Additional Readings
Alex Munt ¿Digital Kiarostami and the Open Screenplay¿ in Scan
Hamid Naficy (1994) ¿Veiled Vision/ Powerful Presences: women in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema¿ in The Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran Afkhami and Friedl eds. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
Available online at:
Anahid Kassabian (2001)¿Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music. London: Routledge. Excerpts online at:

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking
Ability to analyse different kinds of texts: critical, popular, literary, filmic, televisual, still images.
Research skills
Group work skills
Oral presentation skills
Ability to construct and organise complex arguments in written assignments, in public presentations, and in small group work.
Course organiserMs Jane Sillars
Tel: (0131 6)50 2945
Course secretaryMs Ersev Ersoy
Tel: (0131 6)50 4465
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