FLMS2002: Representations of Sex, Gender & Race


FLMS2002: Representation of Gender, Sexuality and ‘Race’ In Film

Module tutor: Dr Katie Barnett

Email: k.barnett@worc.ac.uk

Lecture / seminar: Thursdays, 18.15 – 21.15

Module Description:

This module provides a critical understanding of the representation of ‘race’, gender and sexuality in film. We analyse film as a social and cultural product in the context of the representation of gender and ‘race’. Emphasis is on discussion and close textual analysis of films in relation to relevant theories. Film is analysed as a social and cultural product and stereotypes of gender and ‘race’ are looked at, as well as recent attempts at subverting them.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:
On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  1. develop the skills of detailed, analytic and discriminating reading and interpretation of films;
  2. to identify and examine some of the main points of gender theories and related theoretical approaches;
  3. to identify and examine some of the main points about ‘race’ theories;
  4. to identify various representations regarding ‘race’, sexuality and gender in film;
  5. to explore audience research methods in relation to audience responses to film.

Attendance Policy:

 It is expected that you will attend all taught sessions, in the same way that attendance is expected in the workplace. Indeed regular attendance has a significant impact on student engagement, understanding and successful completion of University courses. Furthermore non-attendance will significantly affect your ability to successfully complete a module and may jeopardise your ability to undertake re-assessment in the event of failing a module.

It is your responsibility as a student, just as it would be if you were an employee, to ensure that you are punctual and that your attendance has been recorded on the register each week.

Should you, for some unavoidable reason, be unable to attend a scheduled session (for example if you are ill) then you must send an email to ihcastudentabsence@worc.ac.uk . Please include in your email your name and student number, the module code and name, the date of the missed session, and your reason for missing it. You should make sure that you copy the module tutor into the email (k.barnett@worc.ac.uk) and also contact your module tutor to make arrangements to catch up on any work you have missed.

Notification must be received within 6 days of the date of the missed session.

Alternatively you can inform IHCA of your absence via the telephone. Please ring 01905 542015 with the required details.

Students with two or more unexplained absences may be required to attend a tutorial/ interview with the module leader, course leader or head of division to discuss their progress.

Learning Contract:

On this module you are expected to be courteous and attentive to your fellow classmates and to the module tutor. You are also expected to undertake the required reading each week and to view the film or films under question. Failure to do either of these things will severely impede your success on the module.

The use of mobile phones will not be tolerated in classes, lectures or screenings. Please turn off all phones before the lesson starts.

I endeavour to reply to all emails within 48 hours during the week (Mon-Fri, 9-5). I do not respond to emails over the weekend or on University closed days.

General information about the module, readings, or the assignment can be found in this guide or on the module’s Blackboard page, which will be updated regularly.


Module Calendar (please note, subject to change):

Week Date Film
1. The Birth of a Nation   The Birth of a Nation (Griffiths, 1915)
Required Reading Dyer, R. 1988. “White.” Screen 4, pp.44-64.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Bogle, D. 2002. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films. London: Continuum.

Dyer, R. 1997. White. London: Routledge.

Johnston, R. 2011. “The Construction of Whiteness in The Birth of a Nation and The Jazz Singer.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 28:5, pp. 382-389.

Stokes, M. 2007. D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation: A History of “the most controversial motion picture of all time”. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Young, L. 1996. Fear of the Dark: ‘Race’, Gender and Sexuality in the Cinema. London: Routledge.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Porter, 1903)

The Jazz Singer (Crosland, 1927)

Gone With the Wind (Fleming, 1939)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Thorpe, 1939)

Week Date Film
2. Native Americans   The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
Required Reading Churchill, W. 2000. “Fantasies of the Master Race: Categories of Stereotyping of American Indians in Film”, in Stam and Miller (eds.), Film and Theory: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, pp.697-703.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Aleiss, A. 2005. Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies. London: Praeger.

Buscombe, E. 2006. Injuns! Native Americans in the Movies. London: Reaktion.

Coyne, M. 1998. The Crowded Prairie: American National Identity in the Hollywood Western. London: I.B. Tauris.

Kilpatrick, J. 1999. Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Shively, J. 2000. “Cowboys and Indians: Perceptions of Western Films Among American Indians and Anglos”, in Stam and Miller (eds.), Film and Theory: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, pp.345-360.

Duel in the Sun (Vidor, 1946)

A Man Called Horse (Silverstein, 1970)

Pocahontas (Gabriel and Goldberg, 1995)

The Lone Ranger (Verbinski, 2013)

Week Date Film
3. Virgins and Vamps   The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, 1946)
Required Reading Place, J. 1998. “Women in Film Noir”, in Kaplan (ed.), Women in Film Noir. London: BFI, pp.47-68.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Jancovich, M. 2009. “‘Thrills and chills’: horror, the woman’s film, and the origins of film noir.” New Review of Film and Television Studies 7:2, pp.157-171.

Kaplan, E. A. 1998. Women in Film Noir. London: BFI.

Robson, E. 2005. Film Noir. London: Virgin.

Spicer, A. 2002. Film Noir. London: Longman.

The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941)

Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)

Mildred Pierce (1945)

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Aldrich, 1962)

Week Date Film
4. 1970s: Negotiating Masculinity   Jaws (Spielberg, 1975)
Required Reading Wasser, F. “The Shark and the Blockbuster”, in Steven Spielberg’s America. Cambridge: Polity, pp.66-74.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Chapman, R. and J. Rutherford. 1988. Male Order: Unwrapping Masculinity. London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Elsaesser, T., A. Horwath and N. King. 2004. The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Holmlund, C. 1993. “Masculinity as Multiple Masquerade: The ‘mature’ Stallone and the Stallone Clone,” in Cohan and Hark (eds.), Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema. London: Routledge, pp.213-227.

Gallagher, M. 2006. Action Figures: Men, Action Films, and Contemporary Adventure Narratives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jeffords, S. 1994. Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

Jordan, C. 1996. “Gender and Class Mobility in Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 24:3, pp.116-122.

Rocky (Avildsen, 1976)

Star Wars (Lucas, 1977)

Saturday Night Fever (Badham, 1977)

Week Date Film
5. Feminist Backlash   Fatal Attraction (Lyne, 1987)
Required Reading Davies, J. and C. Smith. 1997. “White Masculinity as Paternity: Michael Douglas, Fatherhood and the Uses of the American Family,” in Gender, Ethnicity and Sexuality in Contemporary American Film. Edinburgh: Keele University Press, pp.16-26.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Faludi, S. “Fatal and Foetal Visions: The Backlash in the Movies,” in Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women. London: Chatto & Windus, pp.140-170.

Harwood, S. 1997. Family Fictions: Representations of the Family in 1980s Hollywood Cinema. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Pidduck, J. 1995. “The 1990s Hollywood Fatal Femme: (Dis) Figuring Feminism, Family, Irony, Violence.” Cineaction 38, pp.64-73.

Radner, H. and R. Stringer (eds.) 2011. Feminism at the Movies. London: Routledge.

Tasker, Y. 1998. Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema. London: Routledge.

Traube, E. 1992. Dreaming Identities: Class, Gender and Generation in 1980s Hollywood Movies. Boulder: Westview Press.

Vint, S. 2007. “The New Backlash: Popular Culture’s “Marriage” with Feminism, or Love Is All You Need.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 34:4, pp.160-168.

Working Girl (Nichols, 1988)

Basic Instinct (Verhoeven, 1992)

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (Hanson, 1992)

Week Date Film
6. The Doom Generation   The Living End (Araki, 1992)
Required Reading Pearl, M. 2004. “AIDS and New Queer Cinema”, in Aaron (ed.), New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp.23-35.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Aaron, M. (ed.) 2004. New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Benshoff, H. and S. Griffin (eds.) 2004. Queer Cinema: The Film Reader. London: Routledge.

Benshoff, H. and S. Griffin. 2006. “Hollywood is Burning: New Queer Cinema”, in Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, pp.219-246.

Moran, J. 1996. “Gregg Araki: Guerrilla Film-Maker for a Queer Generation.” Film Quarterly 50:1, pp.18-26.

Rich, B. 2000. “Queer and Present Danger.” Sight & Sound, pp.22-5.

Rich, B. 2013. New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut. Durham: Duke University Press.

Tongues Untied (Riggs, 1989)

Paris is Burning (Livingston, 1990)

Totally Fucked Up (Araki, 1993)

The Celluloid Closet (Epstein and Friedman, 1996)

Week Date Film
7. New Men, New Fatherhood   Mrs. Doubtfire (Columbus, 1993)
Required Reading Aronson, A. and M. Kimmel. 2001. “The Saviors and the Saved: Masculine Redemption in Contemporary Films,” in Lehman (ed.), Masculinity: Bodies, Movies, Culture. London: Routledge, pp. 43-50.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Bruzzi, S. 2005. Bringing Up Daddy: Fatherhood and Masculinity in Post-War Hollywood. London: BFI.

Davies, J. 1995. “ ‘I’m the Bad Guy?’ Falling Down and White Masculinity in 1990s Hollywood.” Journal of Gender Studies 4:2, pp.145-152.

Hamad, H. 2014. Postfeminism and Paternity in Contemporary U.S. Film. London: Routledge.

Jeffords, S. 1993. “Can Masculinity be Terminated?” in Cohan and Hark (eds.), Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema. London: Routledge, pp.245-262.

Tasker, Y. 2008. “Practically Perfect People: Postfeminism, Masculinity and Male Parenting in Contemporary Cinema”, in Pomerance (ed.), A Family Affair: Cinema Calls Home. London: Wallflower, pp.175-87.

Kramer vs. Kramer (Benton, 1979)

Three Men and a Baby (Nimoy, 1987)

Kindergarten Cop (Reitman, 1990)

Liar, Liar (Shadyac, 1997)

Week Date Film
8. Girls on Film   Girlhood (Sciamma, 2014)
Required Reading Karlyn, K. 2011. “Introduction: Bad Mothers, Angry Girls”, in Karlyn, Unruly Girls, Unrepentant Mothers: Redefining Feminism on Screen. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp.1-9.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Hoskin, B. 2007. “Playground Love: Landscape and Longing in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides.” Literature/Film Quarterly 35:3, pp.214-221.

Kennedy, T. 2010. “Off with Hollywood’s Head: Sofia Coppola as Feminine Auteur.” Film Criticism 35:1, pp.37-59.

Marshall, E. 2006. “Borderline Girlhoods: Mental Illness, Adolescence, and Femininity in Girl Interrupted.The Lion and the Unicorn 30:1, pp.117-133.

Mulvey, L. 2000. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, in Stam and Miller (eds.), Film and Theory: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, pp.483-494.

Girl, Interrupted (Mangold, 1999)

The Virgin Suicides (Coppola, 1999)

Marie Antoinette (Coppola, 2006)

The Falling (Morley, 2014)

Mustang (Ergüven, 2015)

Week Date Film
9. Beyond Binary: Deconstructing Gender   Transamerica (Tucker, 2005)
Required Reading


Abbott, T. 2013. “The Trans/Romance Dilemma in Transamerica and Other Films.” Journal of American Culture 36:1, pp.32-41.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Aaron, M. 2001. “Pass/Fail.” Screen 42:1, pp.92-96.

Butler, J. 2006. Gender Trouble. London: Routledge.

Garber, M. 1993. “Spare Parts: The Surgical Construction of Gender”, in Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety. London: Routledge.

Rigney, M. 2003. “Brandon Goes to Hollywood: Boys Don’t Cry and the Transgender Body in Film.” Film Criticism 28:2, pp.4-23.

The Crying Game (Jordan, 1992)

Ma vie en rose (Berliner, 1997)

Boys Don’t Cry (Peirce, 1999)

All About My Mother (Almodovar, 1999)

Tangerine (Baker, 2015)

Week Date Film
10. Dude, Where’s My Bromance   Knocked Up (Apatow, 2007)
Required Reading Brook, H. 2015. “Bros before Ho(mo)s: Hollywood Bromance and the Limits of Heterodoxy.” Men and Masculinities 18:2, pp.249-266.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Alberti, J. 2013. “’I Love You, Man’: Bromances, the Construction of Masculinity, and the Continuing Evolution of the Romantic Comedy.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 30:2, pp.159-172.

san Filippo, M. 2013. “More Than Buddies: Wedding Crashers and the Bromance as Comedy of (Re)Marriage Equality”, in Shary (ed.), Millennial Masculinity: Men in Contemporary American Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

 The 40 Year Old Virgin (Apatow, 2005)

The Hangover (Phillips, 2009)

I Love You, Man (Hamburg, 2009)

Week Date Film
11.  The Paradox of Visibility   The Kids Are All Right (Cholodenko, 2010)
Required Reading


Benshoff, H. 2008. “Queers and Families in Film: From Problems to Parents”, in Pomerance (ed.), A Family Affair: Cinema Calls Home. London: Wallflower, pp.223-234.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Brooks, J. 2014. “The Kids Are All Right, The Pursuits of Happiness, and the Spaces Between.” Camera Obscura 29:1, pp.110-135.

Kennedy, T. 2014. “Sustaining White Homonormativity: The

Kids Are All Right as Public Pedagogy.” Journal of Lesbian Studies 18:2, pp.118-132.

Piontek, T. 2012. “Tears for Queers: Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, Hollywood, and American Attitudes toward Homosexuality.” Journal of American Culture 35:2, pp.123-134.

Walters, S. D. 2001. All The Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Walters, S. D. 2012. “The kids are all right but the lesbians aren’t: Queer kinship in US culture.” Sexualities 15:8, pp.917-933.

The Object of My Affection (Hytner, 1998)

Brokeback Mountain (Lee, 2005)

Milk (van Sant, 2008)

Concussion (Passon, 2013)

Week Date Film
12. Tutorials    

Resource list:

 The resource list for this module, including links to the weekly readings and additional resources, can be found here: https://worc.rl.talis.com/lists/F1B50FDF-49F0-8299-4E6A-F4B4B3B22141.html


 Every effort will be made to make the films available for you to watch. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have seen the texts being discussed. You can source many of the films on Netflix, Amazon Instant or You Tube, however there may be some DVD purchase necessary. In that instance, you will be informed well ahead of time.

Film Access
The Birth of a Nation YouTube (free)
The Searchers Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
The Postman Always Rings Twice Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
Jaws Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
Fatal Attraction Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
The Living End YouTube (free)
Mrs. Doubtfire Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
Girlhood Google Drive
Transamerica Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
Knocked Up Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)
The Kids Are All Right Learning on Screen (Box of Broadcasts)


 Assignment 1: Report analysing audience response to film

Your report should examine how a particular audience has responded to a film, and how this response may have been shaped by the demographics of the audience in question.

Word count: 1400 words.
Weighting: 50%
Due date: Wednesday 5th April, 3pm (via SOLE)

Assignment 2: Film analysis essay and one blog contribution

Your essay should analyse one or more films in relation to one of the concepts covered over the course of the module. You are encouraged to formulate your own essay question, however this should be agreed in advance with the tutor. (1750 words)

+ short blog contribution (250 words)

Total word count: 2000 words.
Weighting: 50%
Due date: Friday 19th May 2017, 3pm (via SOLE)


 You should submit your assignments online via your SOLE page. Please be sure you are familiar with the submission process.

If thought necessary, your work may be entered in the turnitin plagiarism checker.

For information regarding plagiarism, referencing, and general study skills please visit http://www.worc.ac.uk/studyskills/