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

Undergraduate Course: Gender and Visual Representations (CLLC08003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis interdisciplinary course examines a range of feminist, post-colonial and queer theories to study the embodiment of gender, its performance and representation in visual culture. The course aims to enable students to think critically about historical and contemporary visual representations of gender. How do the power relations in a specific socio-political context inform these representations? What role does nationality, social class, race, sexuality and religion play in shaping gender representations? By examining key theories in reading and analysing visual materials, this course will study the constructions of gendered identities through various mediums such as media productions, the arts, objects and clothing. These serve as significant signs and sites in which gendered identities and other hierarchies of power are constructed, naturalised as well as contested.
Course description In this course students will learn to engage critically with past and contemporary modes of visual representations of gender. The students will apply critical discourse analysis in order to examine how works of art, media productions and texts that accompany them, shape varied meanings and perceptions of gender. The students will consider the national and ideological context and underlying power hierarchies in society in which visual representations operate and shape gendered identities.

The course offers a comparative perspective by looking at the processes that shape meanings of gender in both Western and non-Western contexts. In doing so, the course aims to problematize the idea that the notion of gender carries universal meanings, and that they work in the same ways across different societies, cultures and temporalities. In order to deconstruct some of these prevailing tendencies in the study and representation of gender, the course draws on from theories that are produced in predominantly ┬┐Western┬┐ societies, and examines how and to what degree they apply to other contexts. The overarching question examined in the course is: How does visual culture shape historical and contemporary articulations of gender? This is studied in relation to nationalist, orientalist and colonialist discourses.

The topics examined in this course include but are not limited to the following: visual representations of gender relations, gender and power, the politics of visual representations, gender and religion; and representations of gender in popular media.

The course will be taught through a weekly two hours session which combines one-hour lectures and one-hour seminar discussions. During the seminars students will participate in group work, in-class exercises and discussions around primary texts/visual relevant to each topic. Throughout the course, students will design a visual portfolio, corresponding to the discussions and topics covered each week. They are expected to provide 1 to 2 visual material for each week along with a 250 words write up, explaining why they chose that particular image and providing a critical analysis of the same. The visual portfolio will constitute 40% of their summative assessment. At the end of the course they will also write and receive feedback on a final summative essay (60%).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students might chose to purchase some of the readings/films listed in the coursebook.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. A 2,000 word essay (60%): A set of essay questions reflecting the topics of each week will be provided to students in the handbook. Essays to be submitted at the end of term.

2. A visual portfolio (40%): Throughout the semester, students are asked to develop a visual portfolio corresponding to the discussions and topics covered each week. They are expected to provide 1 to 2 visual material for each week along with a 250-words write up, explaining why they chose that particular image and providing a critical analysis of the same. The visual portfolio will be assessed midterm and students will be given feedback. This will be followed by a full submission of the portfolio at the end of the term.
Feedback -Individual written feedback provided by lecturer on essay.
-Group oral comments provided by lecturer
-Individual written feedback on visual portfolio provided by marker.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. address the role of socio-political and cultural context in informing visual culture
  2. critically engage with visual representations of gender and their role in meaning making processes across time and cultures
  3. produce critical analysis within a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach
  4. construct and analyse arguments both in writing and verbally
  5. think critically and apply theoretical insights to contemporary social experience
Reading List
Abu-Lughod, L. (2002). Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others. American Anthropologist, 104 (3), 783-790.

Banet-Weiser, S. (2018). Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny. Durham: Duke University Press.

Berrington and Honkatukia. (2002) 'An Evil Monster and a Poor thing: female violence in the media'. In Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime prevention. Vol: 3 (1) Jan.

Connell, R.W. & Messerschmidt. J. (2005). 'Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept' in Gender and Society, Vol. 19, No. 6, pp. 829-859.

Crenshaw, K. (2019). On Intersectionality: Essential Writings. New York: The New Press.

Dobson, A. (2015) Postfeminist Digital Cultures: Femininity, Social Media and Self-representation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Duffy, B.E. (2017) (Not) getting paid to do what you love: Gender, social media, and aspirational work. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Gill, R. (2007) Gender and the Media. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gill, R. and C. Scharff (2011) New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism, and Subjectivity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hafez, S. (2014). 'Bodies that Protest: the Girl in the Blue Bra, Sexuality and State Violence in Revolutionary Egypt'. Signs 40(1): 20-28.

Jackson, S. (2014). Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press. New York: Routledge.

Kearney, M. (2012) The Gender and Media Reader. New York: Routledge.

Lazar, M. M. (2005) (ed.) Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis: Gender, Power and Ideology in Discourse. London: Palgrave.

Leung, W.F.W. (2018). Digital Entrepreneurship, Gender and Intersectionality: An East Asian Perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

McLaughlin, L. and Carter, C. (2012) Current Perspectives in Feminist Media Studies, Routledge, London.

Mohanty, C..(1991). Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses, in Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (Mohanty, Russo,Torres, eds. 1991).

Rottenberg, C. (2018) The rise of neoliberal feminism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Skeggs, B. (1997). Formations of Class and Gender. London: Sage.

Yafeh, O. (2007). The Time in the Body: Cultural Construction of Femininity in Ultraorthodox Kindergartens for Girls'. In Ethos. Vol 35: 4 (Dec).

Yuval-Davis, N. (1996). 'Women and the biological reproduction of 'the nation', Women's Studies International Forum, Vol (19) 1-2.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students will have strengthened their skills in:
- Communication and Research - analysing evidence and using this to develop and support a line of argument in oral and written work;
-Critical analysis and evaluation through academic essay writing, seminar discussions and exercises;
-Project Management - working independently and as part of groups, prioritising objectives, and working to deadlines;
IT - locating material online, using blogs, LEARN and other online resources;
- Social Responsibility - developing an awareness of gender
-In-class group work and peer-learning through delivery of written feedback
KeywordsVisual Culture,gender,representation,gender and power,politics of representation
Course organiserProf Nacim Pak-Shiraz
Tel: (0131 6)50 8432
Course secretaryMrs Anne Budo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4161
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