Course Catalog

01:988:481 Feminism and Visual Culture

Course Description

This course will examine the history and cultural contexts of visual narratives that address gender and sexuality. Rather than considering sequential (visual) narratives as vehicles of entertainment or escapism, or material realizations of inchoate cultural trends, we will explore the ways they are crafted to express, critique, and/or influence social policies. We will also consider how national arts/cultural policies have included or excluded women and issues of gender and sexuality.

In addition to documentary or fiction films or videos directed by women, students will also discuss a variety of other visual narratives, including graphic novels, sequences of photographs, and visual timelines, including material created for or distributed via the Internet. Readings on cultural policy will augment readings on how sequential narratives construct meaning and how audiences make sense of them.

Course Objectives

  • Understand how the construction, distribution and reception of visual narratives promotes and controls dominant and alternate visions of gender and sexuality, with particular attention to the historical development, subsequent critiques of, and alternatives to narrative and visual conventions;
  • Be able to discuss feminist critiques of visual representation and apparatus; feminist and other oppositional theories of reception/audience; and experimental forms of visual narrative, both documentary and fictional;
  • Understand how visual narratives have contributed to the formation and/or critique of social policies relevant to in several different time periods or national cultures during the past hundred years;
  • Understand how national cultural policy structures, support systems, and practices in different world regions have addressed (or excluded/ignored) women, gender and sexuality;
  • Become aware of current trends and discussions regarding diversity in cultural programming and globalization of the information economy and cyberspace.