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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Sexuality, Space and the Cinema (HIAR10139)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe twentieth century bore witness to profound changes in the understanding, reception and representation of sex, sexuality and gender in the West, from the sexual revolution and second-wave feminism of the 1960s to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. This history is thoroughly intertwined with developments in the field of cinema, which has consistently served to both document and to reproduce sexual politics. This course surveys the visual representation of sex and sexuality in cinema, with a focus on film produced in the USA and Europe ┐ both mainstream and ┐arthouse┐ ┐ from the 1950s to the 2000s. It explores film┐s interaction with changing social mores, as well legislation such as the Hays Production Code, which provided moral guidance for cinema in the USA up until 1968. It also examines the ways in which space, especially urban space, is related to sexuality and how these are relayed on screen. The course will cover films by directors including Chantal Akerman, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alfred Hitchcock, Patty Jenkins, Spike Lee and Andy Warhol. The material will be viewed through a variety of feminist, Marxist, queer and psychoanalytic theoretical lenses by authors including Judith Butler, Silvia Federici, Michel Foucault, Laura Mulvey.
Course description Week 1: Intro

Week 2: The Male Gaze
Films: Rear Window (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

Week 3: Melodrama and Women's Film
Films: All That Heaven Allows (dir. Douglas Sirk, 1955), Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbiner, 1974), Far From Heaven (dir. Todd Haynes, 2002)

Week 4: Domestic Space
Film: Jeanne Dielman (dir. Chantal Akerman, 1975)

Week 5: Sex Work
Films: My Hustler (dir. Andy Warhol, 1965), Monster (dir. Patty Jenkins, 2003)

Week 6: The Femme Fatale
Films: Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder, 1944), Basic Instinct (dir. Paul Verhoeven, 1992)

Week 7: Black Masculinity on Screen
Films: She's Gotta Have It (dir. Spike Lee, 1986), Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins, 2016)

Week 8: Tolerance and Tradition
Films: Comizi d'Amore (dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964), Ricerche: three (Sharon Hayes, 2013)

Week 9: Subversion or Spectacle?
Film: Paris Is Burning (dir. Jennie Livingstone, 1990)

Week 10: Los Angeles Plays Itself
Sunset Boulevard (dir. Billy Wilder, 1950), Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch, 2001)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment:

For this course there is one piece of formative assessment. All students are asked to write a short (max. 500 words) essay on the depiction of sexuality and space in a film NOT included in the course. This need not be academically referenced. This should be submitted via the Formative Feedback folder on Learn.

Formative Assessment does not count to your final grade/mark but is used to support your learning. Feedback on formative assessment is designed to help you learn more effectively by giving you feedback on your performance and on how it can be improved and/or maintained.

Summative Assessment:

For this course there are two pieces of summative assessment, equally weighted:

1. 2000-word Essay (50%)
2. Exam (50%)

Summative Assessment counts to your final grade/mark. It evaluates your learning.
Feedback Feedback is given on all formative and summative in-course assessment within 15 working days of submission, or in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course, whichever is sooner.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Theory Exam2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a good understanding of key developments in cinema since the mid-20th Century, particularly as pertaining to sex and sexuality.
  2. use contemporary theories of sexuality with confidence in relation to the topic.
  3. think critically about cinema, and its depictions of sex and sexuality, and to analyse and assess films verbally and in writing.
  4. analyse, read and critique cinema, and to adapt art-historical methods to the study of film.
  5. show the capacity to research, structure and present their own arguments and methodological positions independently.
Reading List
Buscombe, Edward. The Sexual Subject: A Screen Reader in Sexuality. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, Mulvey, Laura. ┐Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema┐. Screen 16, no. 3 (1975): 6┐18.

Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.

hooks, bell. Reel to Real: Race, Class and Sex at the Movies. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Nelmes, Jill, ed. Introduction to Film Studies. 5th ed. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Tasker, Yvonne. Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema. New York: Routledge, 1998.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The class will be taught through weekly 2-hour seminars, accompanied by a screening programme, showing key films from the course.
Course organiserDr Ian Rothwell
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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