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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Global Queer Cinema (DESI10141)

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
SummaryThis course provides an introduction to the study of queer cinema within a global framework. Primarily focusing on the period from the late 1980s to the present day, the era in which the term queer has adopted particular meanings and attained widespread cultural visibility in global contexts, the course also considers important earlier texts and historical moments that prefigure our contemporary queer moment. The course adopts a thematic, transnational approach to queer cinema, whilst also, through case studies, recognising the important influence of local cultural, religious and political contexts on queer filmmaking.
Course description Queer cinema is a globally created and internationally circulating body of films that continues to proliferate, reaching audiences around the world through LGBTQ+ film festivals, activist events, and regular distribution methods such as online streaming. The term itself has a certain definitional elasticity, encompassing films made by queer directors, those depicting LGBTQ+ characters and their interactions, and those marked by a distinctively queer tone or register. This course provides an overview of the development of queer cinema around the world since the late 1980s, and traces the ways in which that growth has occurred in tandem with the evolution of both queer activist politics and queer theory.

Queer cinema did not, of course, appear from nowhere, and the course will interrogate a number of key questions that engage a wider historical frame: what separates queer cinema from lesbian and gay cinema? What forms of representation of LGBTQ+ people have persisted across cinema's history? Where can traces of queerness be located in earlier film, retrospectively? How do contemporary queer filmmakers deploy elements of the LGBTQ+ archive in their practice?

Centrally, the course will invite students to think through the challenges of engaging with queer cinema in a global frame. This requires consideration of factors such as: the limits on the transnational traffic of texts and bodies; the influence that varied understandings of sexuality around the world, and differences in legal recognition of queer rights, have on film form and content; the impact of legal and moral strictures, including the actions of film censors, on the depiction of queer lives; and the geopolitical reach of particular dominant film industries (such as those of Hollywood and China) and their influence on global audiences' expectations of cinema.

The course will be delivered in a lecture/seminar format, with each session requiring some preparatory reading and viewing. The course content may cover subjects including:
What is queer? What is queer cinema?
Historical precedents (1): avant-garde and underground queer cinema
Historical precedents (2): queer traces in mainstream film
New Queer Cinema: movement or moment?
Queer film and AIDS
Queer auteurism
Documentary and the queer archive
Queer cinema in global circulation: film festivals and their audiences
Artists, film and video: queer cinema in the gallery
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the evolution of queer cinema across a variety of production and exhibition contexts.
  2. Evaluate the contribution of specific films and directors to the history of transnational queer cinema.
  3. Articulate the limits and challenges of situating queer cinema within a global frame.
Reading List
Clara Bradbury-Rance (2019), Lesbian Cinema After Queer Theory (Edinburgh University Press).
Richard Dyer (2002), Now You See It: Studies in Lesbian and Gay Cinema (Routledge, 2nd edition).
Arnika Fuhrmann (2016), Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema (Duke University Press).
Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover (2016), Queer Cinema in the World (Duke University Press)
Ronald Gregg and Amy Villarejo (eds) (2020), The Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema (Oxford University Press).
Robin Griffiths (ed) (2009), Queer Cinema in Europe (Intellect).
B. Ruby Rich (2013), New Queer Cinema: The Director¿s Cut (Duke University Press).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of this course, students will be able to:
Demonstrate a critical understanding of principal theories and concepts in relation to a particular body of knowledge;
Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in executing a defined project of research, development or investigation;
Exercise autonomy and initiative in professional or equivalent activities.
Keywordsqueer cinema,LGBTQ culture,LGBTQ history,world cinema
Course organiserDr Glyn Davis
Course secretaryMs Georgia Dodsworth
Tel: (0131 6)51 5712
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