CL/CSCL/CSDS 5910: Gender and Image (Spring 2001) 


Syllabus (MS word file)

Since the emergence of urban cultures of modernity in the mid-19th century, the mechanically-reproducible image has increasingly permeated all forms of social life. In countless forms – photography, magazines and the popular press, cinema, television, advertising, etc – these regimes of visuality have become the landscape not only for modern consumer cultures but also for modern forms of social identity and selfhood. This course will draw on materials from film and photography to critically examine the construction of gender, sexuality and subjectivity in relation to the visual image. In particular, we will re-examine a body of critical writings produced during the late 1960s-1980s that used psychoanalytic models to analyze the cinematic apparatus and structures of vision. Starting from the normative conventions of “classical narrative cinema,” we will examine the construction of gendered bodies and gendered spectators in film and photography, to explore the possibilities for the production of different forms of spectatorship and alternative forms of cinematic and visual cultures.

Required Texts:
John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: Penguin, 1972)
Philip Rosen, ed., Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology (Columbia UP, 1986) [N]
Course Reader (available at Paradigm; in 2 volumes) [R]

All students (grads and undergrads) will write several shorter papers:
1) a single image analysis (1-2 pages) due Jan. 18
2) a shot-by-shot analysis of a film sequence (3-4 pages) due Feb. 20
3) a longer analysis (5-6 pages) due April 3
4) a final paper (5-7 pages for undergrads; 10-12 pages for grads) due May 7

Although this class is not officially “writing-intensive,” the format of smaller, more frequent papers is designed in part to encourage you to work on your writing; all papers (except the final essay) will receive substantial feedback and you will have the opportunity to revise them. All assignments must be completed to pass this course. You are expected to carefully read the week’s texts before the assigned session, and come to class ready to discuss the readings critically. Regular attendance and participation are also required. Since this is largely a discussion-based class, grades will be based approximately 70% on written work and 30% on participation. You are encouraged to meet with the instructor during the course of the semester, and efforts will be made to accommodate special circumstances.

Jan 16 & 18: Introduction
(short paper due Jan 18)

Jan 23 & 25: Image Cultures:
Berger, Ways of Seeing
Rec: W. Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1939)
Jan 25: A. Hitchcock, Psycho (1960)

Jan 30 Image Cultures & the Question of Gender
L. Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema” (1975) [N]
Rec: L. Mulvey, “You Don’t Know What Is Happening, Do You, Mr. Jones?” (1973)
L. Mulvey & G. Pollock, “What’s Wrong with ‘Images of Women’” (1977) [R]

Feb 1: Classical Hollywood Cinema & the Position of the Viewer
D. Bordwell. “Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narrational Principles & Procedures” [N]
K. Silverman, “Suture” [N]

Feb. 6 & 8: The Construction of Gender & ‘Femininity’
J. Butler, “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire” (1989) [R]
M.A. Doane, “Gilda: Epistemology as Striptease” (1982) [R]
Rec: J. Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination” (1992) [R]
Feb: 8: Charles Vidor, Gilda (1946)

Feb 13 & 15: The ‘Woman’s Film’ & the ‘Female Spectator’
Barbara Kruger, “No Progress in Pleasure” (1982) [R]
M. A. Doane, “Film & the Masquerade: Theorizing the Female Spectator” (1982) [R]
M.A. Doane, “ Female Spectatorship and Machines of Projection: Caught and Rebecca” (1985) [R]
Rec: M.A. Doane, “Reconsidering Masquerade” (1988) [R]
Feb 15: Max Ophuls, Caught (1949); or Now Voyager (1942)

Feb 20 & 22: The Star’s Body
R. Dyer, “Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars & Society” [R]
R. Meyer, “Rock Hudson’s Body” (1995) [R]
J. Gaines, “Costume & Narrative: How Dress Tells a Woman’s Story” (1990) [R]
M. Turim, “Designing Woman: the Emergence of the New Sweetheart Line” (1984) [R]

Feb 27/Mar 1: Consumers, Fans & Spectators
M. Hansen, “Pleasure, Ambivalence, Identification: Valentino & Female Spectatorship” (1986) [R]
B. Hooks, “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators” [R]
Rec: C. Eckart, “The Carole Lombard in Macy’s Window” (1982) [R]
Rec: G. Studlar, “Perils of Pleasure: Fan Magazine Discourse as Women’s Commodified Culture in the 1920s” (1991) [R]

Mar 6 & 8: Vision & the Apparatus
P. Rosen, Introduction (pp. 281-285) [N]
J-L Baudry, “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus” (1970) [N]
J. Crary, “Modernizing Vision” (1988) [R]
Rec: J-L Baudry, “The Apparatus: Metapsychological Approaches” (1975) [N]
Rec: V. Schwartz, “Cinematic Spectatorship Before the Apparatus: The Public Taste for Reality in Fin-de-Siecle Paris” (1994)

Mar 13 & 15: The Subject of Sight
C. Metz, “The Imaginary Signifier” (1975) [N]
J. Lacan, “The Mirror Stage” [R]
M. Foucault, On the Panopticon [R]

Mar 20 & 22: The Question of Pornography
R. Rich, “Anti-Porn: Soft Issue, Hard World” (1981)
L. Williams, “Pornography and the ‘Frenzy of the Visible’”
Rec: L. Williams, “Film Body: An Implantation of Perversions” (1981) [N]
Rec: A. Solomon-Godeau, “Reconsidering Erotic Photography: Notes for a Project of Historical Salvage” (1981) [R]
Mar 22: Not A Love Story (1982) (excerpts)

Apr 3 & 5: Sexual Subcultures & the Imaging of Identity I
B. Gordon, “Variety: The Pleasure in Looking” (1983) [R]
N. Goldin, introduction to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986) [R]
L. Kotz “Aesthetics of ‘Intimacy’” (1997) [R]
K. Mercer, “Reading Racial Fetishism” (1986/90) [R]
Apr 5: Bette Gordon, Variety (1982)

Apr 10 & 12 Sexual Subcultures & the Imaging of Identity II
D.Crimp, “Portraits of People with AIDS” (1990)
R. Meyer, “This Is To Enrage You: Gran Fury and the Graphics of AIDS Activism” (1995) [R]
Rec: E. Hess, “Guerilla Girl Activism” (1995) [R]

Apr 17 & 19: Sexual Subcultures & the Imaging of Identity III
J. Golsby, “Queens of Language” (1992) [R]
B. Hooks, “Is Paris Burning?” (1993) [R]
Apr 19: Jennie Livingston, Paris Is Burning (1992) [R]

Apr 24: The Voice
M.A. Doane, “The Voice in the Cinema” (1980) [N]
Trinh, T.M., “Mechanical Eye, Electronic Ear, and the Lure of Authenticity,”
“Outside In, Inside Out” (1986) [R]
Rec: Pascal Bonitzer, “The Silences of the Voice” (1975) [N]
Rec: Kaja Silverman, “Dis-Embodying the Female Voice” (1984) [R]
Apr 26: Trinh, T. Minh-ha, Reassemblage (1986)

May 1: Conclusion