Gender and Popular Culture
Gender and popular culture are interrelated social constructs that have a profound impact on our everyday lives. Movies, TV, magazines, and the internet not only reflect what it means to be a man or woman today, they also inform those identities. This course will focus on the visual aspects of these phenomena and survey key methods for interpreting them, including the gaze, queer theory, radical feminist theory, Foucauldean theory, and issues of socioeconomic status. We will apply these theories to examples of contemporary American culture from Facebook and Judd Apatow films to the suburban home and Sons of Anarchy. This process will also allow us to debate questions like: Does gender have to be binary? How does gender affect the experience of space? Is the availability of pornography affecting our ideas of gender? Why is child rearing such a contested domain? How does racial identity influence gender norms? And perhaps most importantly, who is missing from popular representations of gender?
Estimated Cost of Materials: $50-$100.
HISTART Categories for Concentration Distributions: 4.Modern and Contemporary D. Europe and the U.S.
Textbooks/Other Materials: Readings on Canvas; Netflix for TV and Film examples; The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, Amelia Jones, Publisher: Routledge (ISBN: 978-0415543705)
Course Requirements: Participation (20%), Response Papers (60%), Final Exam (20%)
Intended Audience: All are welcome! This course is at its best when a wide-range of perspectives are included in the discussion. Students interested in alternative approaches to interpretation and pop culture fans are encouraged to attend. All gender identities will find a friendly and respectful environment.
Class format: 2 90-minute lectures and a one-hour discussion section per week. Class time will be divided between formal presentations and discussion. Students will be expected to complete and consider theoretical readings as well as familiarize themselves with examples of contemporary American popular culture in order to prepare for class.