Bateman, Gender and Sexuality in Popular Culture (Revised Edition)

Bateman, Gender and Sexuality in Popular Culture (Revised Edition)

Course Description:
This course provides a survey of the field of cultural studies with an emphasis on how popular culture mediates, reinforces and undermines dominant understandings of gender and sexuality. You will learn the inter-disciplinary toolbox of cultural studies (literary analysis, sociology, history and critical theories that include Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism and queer studies) and apply it to a range of media including print, television, film, music, and digital materials. We will focus specifically on how popular media transmit ideas, meanings, and stereotypes to audiences who, in turn, re-work such messages to fit their individual and collective needs. We will thus begin to understand popular culture as a site of personal and political struggle (as well as pleasure) in which interpretation plays a critical role.

-Students will learn to think, talk and write critically about popular culture, including television, film, music, digital materials, and print advertisements.
-Students will better understand the role popular culture plays in constructing gender and sexual identities
-Students will master the basic critical vocabulary of cultural studies, particularly as it pertains to representations of sex, gender, and sexuality
-Students will understand that a text’s meaning extends beyond the text itself to include its producers, receivers, and cultural contexts
-Students will better understand gender and sexual diversity and its interaction with race, class, ethnicity, and belief
-Students will learn to interpret texts using an inter-disciplinary perspective
-Students will become familiar with medium-specific critical vocabularies

1.    If you don’t already have one, you must create a Twitter account. Each week you will tweet on some item of popular culture, e.g. a billboard, a music video, an advertisement, a TV episode, a movie, etc. Your tweet must make an observation/argument that clearly connects to course material. Your tweet should be specific and provocative. For example, “Tonight’s episode of Breaking Bad was particularly queer because it…” Each tweet should conclude with the hashtag #CSGSONLINE.
2.    After you tweet, you must develop your tweet into a 2-page double-spaced writing assignment. The writing assignment should repeat the tweet at the top of the paper (including your Twitter name), but should then take a standard paragraph format in developing the tweet’s observation. The writing assignment must show clear use of course material, including references to my lectures and citations from the book (with page numbers). More details about these writing assignments come at the end of this syllabus.
3.    Campus involvement means attending 3 events, talks, performances, or exhibitions on campus and writing one-page commentaries that use course material to think about how these events activate questions or concerns about sex, gender, and sexuality. The Cross Cultural Centers host a ton of events each quarter, so consider consulting their calendar. And pay particular attention to the events around this year’s One Campus One Book selection, The Laramie Project.

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