This Communication and Culture course still has available seats and may be of interest to Gender Studies majors and minors.

CMCL C392 Media Genres: Topic: Queer Cinemas and beyond taught by Professor Ryan Powell
Class meets MW from 4:00-5:15pm in the Wells Library room 044B and again
Mondays from 7:15-10:15 in BH 310 to screen films.
It carries A & H Breadth of Inquiry Credit for the College of Arts and Sciences
The rubric of queer cinema incorporates a diverse range of films.  While largely focused on films made “by and for” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) audiences, in recent years queer cinema has come to encapsulate more broadly films and videos that challenge viewers’ notions of social and cultural norms, particularly in terms of sex and gender.  This introductory course offers students an in-depth survey of queer cinema and queer writing on cinema from the early twentieth century to the present.  Spanning a wide range of genres, modes and styles – from thriller to documentary, sex education film to popular “indie” film, and classic melodrama to home movie –  students explore the complex relationship between queer cinema and the many cultural and industrial contexts that have shaped and been shaped by it.  Areas of study include: the censorship-challenging films of sixties underground filmmakers such as Andy Warhol and Lloyd Reckford, pre-Stonewall home movies made within LGBT cultures, liberationist cinema in the 1970s, lesbian documentary, New Queer Cinema, recent queer world cinema, and self-representation in the made-for-YouTube video (such as the “It Gets Better” Project).

This course also explores a range of topics concerning queer history and “reading” cinema as queer, such as: camp reception and the Hollywood musical, “coded” representations of non-normative desire in the classical Hollywood era, and the construction of perversion in 1950s sex education and medical films.  Whether studying the construction of stereotypes in dominant mainstream imagery taken up in queer criticism or the world-making counter-politics of much queer filmmaking, this course looks at questions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and national identity to explore one of the most vital areas of cultural production today.  Some of the key questions explored include: how does cinematic imagery offer viewers models of gender and sexuality, how has the history of censorship influenced which images make it into public circulation and how has this changed (or not changed) over time?  Can a film be mainstream, or even a blockbuster (such as Brokeback Mountain), and still be considered queer, or must queer cinema be characteristically a “cinema at the margins”? What kinds of new queer cinematic production has the development of YouTube enabled and how might this relate to older forms of cinematic production?

This course works through a combination of lectures, film screenings and seminars.  Weekly seminar discussion will be focused primarily on the assigned reading and films that comprise each week’s topic and will allow students a forum for considering the social, political, cultural and aesthetic ramifications of the material explored.  In addition to familiarizing students with a whole history of films that challenge, complicate and unsettle “traditional” notions of gender and sexuality, this course also offers students the chance to study a wide range of film and film-related material (posters, advertisements, reviews) relevant to a number of other areas, such as: censorship history, independent and underground cinemas, new media and world cinema.  Course evaluation is made up of a combination of essay assignments and seminar participation.  This course will allow students to gain and hone skills in writing and speaking about a wide range of cinematic material as well as the contexts and conditions in which this material arose.  This course may be of particular interest for students who have undertaken previous coursework in areas such as Hollywood cinema, documentary film, American Independent cinema, world cinema, “Media in the Global Context”, “Gender, Sexuality and the Media” and “Race and the Media” (though no previous experience in these areas is necessary).

Selected list of films to be screened:
Bound (USA 1996, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski), I’m No Angel (USA 1933, Wesley Ruggles), The Red Shoes (UK 1948, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger), Fireworks (USA 1947, Kenneth Anger), Word Is Out (USA 1977), Philadelphia (USA 1993, Jonathan Demme), Young Soul Rebels (UK 1991, Isaac Julien) and The Kids are Alright (USA 2010, Lisa Cholodenko)

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