Journalism and Media Communication 845 Gender and Popular Culture Spring 2016

Journalism and Media Communication 845
Gender and Popular Culture
Spring 2016
Thursday, 12:30 AM – 3:10 PM, CRT 103
Professor: Elana Levine
Office: 581 Bolton
Course Description
This course is a graduate-level examination of the relationship between gender and
popular culture, focusing largely on the U.S./western context and the present day,
although we will touch on non-western and historical questions. While we will consider
representations of gender in popular cultural texts, the course more heavily examines how
and why various popular cultural forms are gendered and how and why the audiences and
users of such forms do or do not identify along gendered lines in their practices of
cultural consumption. Because the focus is on gender as a category of identity we will
consider both feminized and masculinized cultural forms and practices, and will seek to
understand how these identities get distinguished from one another, as well as what the
social and cultural impact of such processes of differentiation might be. To grapple with
such questions, the course introduces students to feminist theory, particularly feminist
media theory and post-structuralist theories of gender and sexuality, as well as examining
a number of different instances of popular culture, helping us to apply theoretical
concepts to concrete cases. Students are expected to conduct original research as well as
to engage actively with course readings and discussions.
Course Objectives
By the end of this course, you will:
1) understand key theories of gender and sexuality;
2) comprehend the theories and methods of feminist media studies;
3) develop your knowledge about a number of popular cultural forms;
4) improve your research, writing, and analysis skills through class discussions
and course assignments; and
5) deepen your understanding of media as a cultural force and as an object of
scholarly inquiry
Readings Will Likely Include:
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality, An Introduction: Volume 1 (New York:
Vintage Books, 1990).
Levine, Elana, ed. Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the
Early 21st Century (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2015).
Modleski, Tania, Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-produced Fantasies for Women (New
York: Routledge, 2007).
Radway, Janice. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature
(Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1991).
Tasker, Yvonne and Diane Negra, eds.. Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the
Politics of Popular Culture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007)
As well as article-length readings to be made available through D2L