Representing Sexuality and Gender On Screen (MS4105.01)

Teddy Pozo

This advanced media studies course explores the relationship between censorship and self-expression, with a particular focus on queer and feminist readings of Hollywood cinema and the history of the adult film and video industry in the United States. From the Motion Picture Production Code, to the ratings system, to SESTA-FOSTA, U.S. media industries have sought respectability through excluding certain forms of content deemed dangerous to vulnerable eyes. Gender, sexual, religious, and racial minorities have been disproportionately affected by these regulations on the representable, and scholars and fans of film, video, television, and digital media have learned to “read between the lines” to find themselves in this landscape. Queer film movements in the U.S. and in conversation with Hollywood have come to prominence within a longer history of queer reading practices, feminist debates over sex work and pornography, and sometimes-uneasy alliances between sex workers and gay and lesbian media producers. Advanced readings by such authors as Sara Ahmed, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze, Alex Doty, Kara Keeling, Audre Lorde, Mireille Miller-Young, José Esteban Muñoz, B. Ruby Rich, Rox Samer, Celine Parreñas Shimizu, L. H. Stallings, Eliza Steinbock, and Patricia White, and films by directors including Kenneth Anger, Gregg Araki, Anna Biller, Shu Lea Cheang, Cheryl Dunye, Shine Louise Houston, Wakefield Poole, Marlon Riggs, Tourmaline, and Chris Vargas, will likely be included. We will pair screenings of films and other visual media that negotiate the realms of the “sexual” and the “nonsexual,” with readings on the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, and LGBTQIA+ identities, and how filmmakers, performers, and audiences have resisted restraints on their own representability. Students will be expected to respond to the questions of sexual and gender representation in visual media in presentations, by leading discussion, in writing, and in scholarly and/or artistic media of their choice. Students should expect that this course will include explicit sexual content.

Learning Outcomes:
- Become conversant in queer theory, film theory, and film history related to gender and sexuality on screen
- Watch and analyze films by multiple queer artists throughout history
- Present about film theory and film analysis and lead seminar discussion
- Create original projects responding to the history and theory of sexuality and gender in cinema

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Students having taken previous courses with Dr. Pozo such as Electronic Media or Queerness and Games are welcome. Students with previous video courses and/or previous queer or gender studies courses are welcome. All students should please consider their familiarity with advanced readings in film studies and gender studies and their comfort level with explicit queer representation before joining this class. Readings will be lengthy and possibly difficult and screenings will commonly be the equivalent of the MPAA's R, NC-17, or "X" rating. Alternate screenings may be provided upon request but cannot be guaranteed for every week. Students should send a brief statement of interest listing previous media studies and/or video experience, along with a sample of critical writing or video work, to
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M 1:40PM - 5:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Film and Video , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Media Studies
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