REPRESENTATION                 OF    GENDER         AND     SEXUALITY

           Film 2255E/MIT 344E                            Prof. Chris Holmlund – ―Chris‖
 Screening AND Lecture/Discussion (BOTH                            Office: UC 79
                  DAYS):                               Office Phone: 661-2111, Ext. #87895
      Wednesday 3:30-5:30 p.m. UC 85             Home Phone: 519-474-4903 (best; after 9 a.m.
     Friday 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. UC 84            and before 9 p.m.; leave a message about how
 Office Hours: Wednesdays by appointment,        and when to reach you and I‘ll get back to you)
               1:30-3:30 p.m.                              Email: (or
   Fridays by appointment, 1:30-2:30 p.m.              )
                   UC 79                           I respond to email promptly, typically within
                                                   two days; ditto with phone calls when I‘m in
       Teaching Assistant: Ryan Dench                                  town.

                                       COURSE DESCRIPTION

   Dedicated to Ginger Rogers, who did everything Fred Astaire did, backwards, and in high heels.

This year-long course will explore issues surrounding sexuality, gender and cinema, through the study
of mainstream, documentary, independent, and experimental films. We will begin by screening and
discussing films made in early and classical Hollywood and Europe that shaped the rise of feminist
film theory, a much more heterogeneous and contested body of thought than typically imagined. We
will then look at the ways feminist writing on film helped spark – or ignored - lesbian, queer,
transgender, Black, Asian, and/or Latino/a approaches to film studies and filmmaking.

Much of the course will center on contemporary work, made from the 1970s on. Emphasis will be on
films directed by and/or starring women and gay men. Disproportionately absent from much
                                 Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 2

traditional film studies, these people have negotiated and crafted film cultures in a wide range of
national and historical contexts -- as filmmakers, screenwriters, critics, festival programmers, actors,
and audiences. We will also look at films starring big and little men: ‗gender‘ is not just about women,
and ‗sexuality‘ is diverse as well.

To have a better sense of the multiple representations there have been of gender and sexuality in film,
we will examine films produced in (trans)national settings. Throughout the year, we will also examine
a wide range of historical, critical, theoretical, and autobiographical writings and methodologies used
in interpreting gender, sexuality, and race.

Bonus: there will be an optional class field trip Nov. 6 to see a local roller derby match, in honor
              of Raquel Welch and Drew Barrymore and derby dolls in general!

                                     COURSE COMPONENTS

Structure: The twice-weekly lectures and screenings are designed to illustrate key points of the
assigned readings and to prompt YOUR discussion. We will screen at least one movie EVERY
Wednesday and Friday, so attendance is mandatory. No more than three missed and unexcused
classes are allowed over the course of the year. Please be advised that all screenings are subject
to change.

Readings and Screenings: Since lectures and discussions will presume your familiarity with
their ideas, assigned readings should be completed before the beginning of each Wednesday and
Friday class. Required texts include three books and on-line (through Web CT Owl) articles.
There are two optional texts available for those students who have not taken Film Studies 0220E,
since the lectures and readings will presume that you understand the basic vocabulary of film
analysis; please see me if you want suggestions for sections of these optional textbooks to study.
Glossaries of film terms are also posted on-line. The three required texts are:

       • B. Ruby Rich, Chick Flicks: Memoirs of the Feminist Film Movement (CF)
       • Su Thornham, ed., Feminist Film Theory: A Reader (FFT)
       • Julie Codell, ed., Genre, Gender, Race, and World Cinema (GGR)

       • On-line course readings (log in via Please check this site regularly
       also for e-mail messages.

       A separate reading list will be posted, keyed to each film by unit and date.

       The optional textbooks are Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, The Film Experience:
       An Introduction and Susan Hayward, Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts, Second Edition

All books are available at the UWO Bookstore.

The readings for this course range in tone and difficulty, but taken together are demanding, and
over time will teach you new vocabularies for film analysis. Give yourself ample time to
                                  Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 3

understand each one and, as the course progresses, to appreciate how they speak to or differ from
each other. The films vary from familiar Hollywood or international features to documentaries to
non-narrative experimental shorts. They will demand different viewing practices throughout the
course. Overall, then, one goal of the course readings and films is to expose you to how different
styles of writing and filmmaking produce different understandings of gender, sexuality, race,
class and age.

Course Aims:
This course serves both Women and Gender Studies and Film Studies students. It is thus
designed with inter-disciplinary goals in mind.

   1) By the end of this course you will have a sense of how much gender and sexuality vary.
      Other factors (race, ethnicity, class, age, and region) change how we live, experience, and
      think about gender and sexuality. How these categories are experienced and theorized has
      also shifted and continues to shift over time.

   2) By the end of this course you will also have an idea of the differences that budgets can
      make (whether mainstream, independent, documentary, experimental, TV – in the US,
      Canada, and around the globe). And you‘ll have a strong appreciation of how BOLD,
      DARING, CREATIVE, SHOCKING, TRUE! (or not) film makers, actors, critics and
      audiences can be!

                                    REQUIRED ASSIGNMENTS

PARTICIPATION (20%): Participation forms a substantial component of your overall grade.
Productive and thoughtful participation in class discussions, regular and prompt attendance at all
meetings, successfully completing all assignments, and improving the quality of your work as
the course progresses — all will enhance your overall participation grade. I will keep track of
attendance each day. Conversely, silence or other forms of disengagement with the ideas in
discussions, such as surfing the web, texting or allowing cell phones to ring in class, sleeping or
chatting with others during class, general unpreparedness, poor attendance (including late
arrivals to and early departures from screenings and lectures), and lack of improvement in your
assignments — each will reduce your participation grade.

SHOT BREAKDOWN (5%): To learn to use film terminology and appreciate more fully how a
film is put together, you will be asked to do a shot breakdown of 4-5 minutes of a sequence I
choose – not you – from Stella Dallas. This is due Oct. 8. The shot breakdown must be
handwritten, as it should reflect your observations (although I strongly encourage you to
watch and discuss the sequence with others). I‘ll set up general screening sessions to facilitate
collaboration. You must work with your classmates on this assignment! Please do NOT
undertake it alone. I will post instructions on line and go over them in class.

QUIZZES AND RESPONSE PAPERS (20%): I will provide questions to guide you through
some of the more complicated readings. I will announce quizzes one class session in advance.
For six designated readings each term, you will type a paragraph that summarizes that reading
(i.e., one paragraph for each reading). Then you will apply one idea from the readings to an
                                  Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 4

analysis of one of the films screened that week. Your film analysis should also be only one
paragraph, and therefore narrowly focused on one aspect of the film. I will collect these short
papers on occasion to assess how you are working through the ideas of the course, and you
should use them as a point of departure for our in-class discussions and for your essays/film in
the course. Therefore, you should complete them each week; do not wait until the end of the
term deadline to complete these responses.
       • Due to the university closure end Fall term, final revised response papers for that
session are now due Wednesday January 5 at the beginning of class.
       • Winter term response papers are due Friday April 1 at the beginning of class.

AND PAPER (30%):

For the major writing assignments in this course, you have two options to follow over the course
of the year. You must opt for one or the other in the Fall Term. You may change and write
three short essays rather than continue with a longer paper should you so desire in the
Winter Term. You may not, however, begin a longer paper during the second term; you must
begin research for this during the fall term.

   1) Fall Term:
   a) Write three short essays (2 to 2 ½ pages each) on films screened in class, focusing on a
      particular aspect of each film and supporting your original detailed observations by
      reference to one of our readings. Each essay should be well-organized - thesis statement,
      supporting arguments, conclusion. Due Nov. 19.
               - or -
   b) Write two short essays, a 200-300 word abstract, and provide an academic bibliography
      (5-6 sources, not newspapers, reviews or fan websites). Due Nov. 19. You will finalize
      your abstract early January and submit it to the Midwest Undergraduate Film Conference
      held at Notre Dame University (South Bend, Indiana) mid January. See I will post sample abstracts (from my UTK students) to give
      you ideas of what was accepted previously.

Everyone will write a sample short essay of 2-2 ½ pages due Oct. 15, that I will comment
on, and assign a tentative grade to. You may return this, rewritten, for one of your two or
three essays.

Do feel free to make an appointment with me during office hours to discuss your ideas and
to learn how best to organize them ahead of time; I’m here to help you! (Especially if you
have not had a film class before, you will probably find that you do better if you do. This
said, I’m super busy, but I really do care about teaching and students.)

   2) Winter Term:
   a) Again write three 2-2 ½ page short essays. Due date March 18.
                     -- or --
                                   Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 5

   b) If you are accepted to the Notre Dame conference, write a 6-8 page paper (with clips or
      other visuals). You will rehearse your presentation in front of me and your friends outside
      class, and you‘ll travel to Notre Dame to present your talk. Due date March 18.
   c) If you are not accepted by the Midwest Undergrad Film Conference, you will write an 8-
      10 page paper, providing final sources. Due date March 18.

FINAL EXAM (20%) To provide you with the opportunity to synthesize what you have learned
this year, at the end of the Winter term you will write a final, in-class, essay exam, with a short
answer section on some of the key readings we will have done. (The date will be determined by
the University.) Questions will be handed out two weeks in advance – there will be no surprises
other than that you will not see all of the short answer questions on the final exam. The day of
the exam you will have choice (e.g. of 12 questions, you will see 7 and have a choice of 5). You
are welcome to discuss how to organize your answers with me and others in the class in advance
of the exam.


In grading both essays and exams, I look for: 1) a well-organized discussion (intro, development,
conclusion), 2) specific examples from the film (pay attention to camera angles, lighting, camera
movements, costuming, music, etc., not just to story line or character), 3) references to applicable
readings that support or contradict your argument. If you do not include references to the
readings, if your entry is not organized, or if it does not include specific examples from the film,
your grade drops. See more extensive comments on grading at the end of this syllabus. In
grading the reading responses, I will look for your engagement with the reading and with the
film at issue.

You are allowed a ONE CLASS PERIOD grace period (i.e. if due Wednesday, you can turn in
your work on Friday; if due Friday, you can turn it in the following Wednesday). Later
assignments will not be accepted. You are advised to keep a copy of each of your essays. You
are required to complete all written work to pass the course.

                                   OUTSIDE READINGS ON FILM

The library has extensive holdings in film history, theory and criticism. I‘d be delighted to
suggest further readings if you get interested in a subject and would like to explore it further.

                                         The Ugly Details

 In order to pass the course you must complete and attain at least a 50% on all assignments, and
 you must not have more than three unexcused absences. Late assignments post the grace period
     will not be accepted and exams will not be rescheduled except for documented medical
  emergencies, and formal medical documentation will need to be submitted both to me and the
                        Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities office.
                                  Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 6

   To avoid plagiarism, all assignments must be downloaded to via your WebCT
    account for this course. Essays that are not downloaded to the site will not be graded. All
  required papers will be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial
plagiarism detection software for the detection of plagiarism under license to the University. All
papers submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose
             of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system.

  Extensive use of passages from a text not cited in a bibliography will result in a zero for the
assignment. THIS RULE EXTENDS TO INTERNET TEXTS. Any act of academic dishonesty
may result in your suspension from the University. In this course, citation of all material other
 than the student‘s own ideas must be completed according to the guidelines established in The
                  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th Edition.

 If you have a complaint concerning any course in which you are enrolled, you must discuss the
  matter with the instructor of the course. If you are still not satisfied, you should then take the
               complaint to the Film Studies Office, University College, Room 80.

   Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your
    Dean to enroll in it, you will be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your
 record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the
     event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.
      Prerequisites for this course are either Film Studies 020E or Women‘s Studies 020E.

       Should you have a disability, you are strongly urged to inform SSD, so that any
misunderstandings can be avoided and accommodation can be made for you in a timely fashion.
Please go to the following site for information on the university Policy on Accommodation for
                                         Medical Illness:

                                    THE FUN PART
                                      SCREENING LIST
                                       WINTER TERM

(all films U.S. unless otherwise indicated)

Jan. 5   Edgar G. Ulmer. Detour. 1964. 67 min.

Jan. 7         Don Siegel. Dirty Harry. 1971. 102 min.

Jan. 12        Charles Burnett. Killer of Sheep. 1977. 80 min.
                               Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 7

Jan. 14      Bob Rafelson. Stay Hungry. 1976. 103 min.

Jan. 19      Abel Ferrara. Bad Lieutenant. 1992. 98 min.

Jan. 21      John Greyson. The Making of Monsters. 1991. 35 min. (Canada)
             Wayne Wang. Chan Is Missing. 1982. 80 min.

Jan. 26      Chia Liang-Liu. Legend of Drunken Master. 1994. 99 min. (Hong Kong)

Jan. 28      Warren Beatty. Bulworth. 1998. 108 min.

Feb. 2    Djibril Diop Mambéty. The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun. 1999. 45 min. (Senegal)
          Ousmane Sembène. La Noire de... (Black Girl). 1966. 65 min. (Senegal)

Feb. 4       Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Angst essen seele auf. (Ali Fear Eats the
                    Soul). 1974. 93 min. (Germany)

Feb. 9       Marilú Mallet. Journal inachevé (Unfinished Diary) 1986. 55 min.
             Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva. Los Chircales (The Brickmakers).
                    1972. 42 min. (Colombia)

Feb. 11      Arturo Ripstein. Profundo carmesí (Deep Crimson). 1997. 114 min.

Feb. 16      Lourdes Portillo. Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena. 1999. 46 min.
             Tracey Moffatt. Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy. 1989. 19 min. (Australia)

Feb. 18      Mira Nair. Salaam Bombay. 1988. 113 min. (France/UK/India)

March 2      Samira Makhmalbaf. The Apple. 1998. 86 min. (Iran)

March 4      Tomas Alfredson. Låt den rätta komma in. (Let the Right One In.)
                   2008. 115 min. (Sweden)

March 9  Don Siegel. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 1956. 80 min.

March 11     Ridley Scott. Alien. 1979. 117 min.

March 16     Sadie Benning. Girl Power. 1993. 15 min.
                    It Wasn't Love 1992. 19 min.
             Midi Onodera. Ten Cents a Dance. 1985. 30 min. (Canada)
             Su Friedrich. Hide and Seek. 1996. 65 min.
                                        Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 8

March 18          Spike Jonze. Being John Malkovich. 1999. 112 min.
                  *** Three 2-2 1/2 pages essays or final paper and bibliography due.

March 23          Jennie Livingston. Paris Is Burning. 1990. 71 min.

March 25          Pedro Almódovar. Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother)
                         (Spain) 1999. 101 min.

March 30          Susana Aikin and Carlos Aparicio. The Salt Mines. 1990. 47 min.
                         The Transformation 1995. 58 min.

April 1           Kimberly Peirce. Boys Don't Cry. 1999. 118 min.
                  *** Final revised reading responses due.

April 6           Tod Browning. Freaks. 1932. 66 min.
                  Gregg Araki. The Living End. US: 1992. 92 min.

                                         FINAL EXAM DATE TBA

                                            Grading Criteria for Essays

Assignments will be given a separate grade for each of the four criteria of Argument, Presentation/structure,
Language skills and Research/scholarship. The four will then be pooled to yield an overall grade. The midterm and
final grades will be 80% argument and 20% language skills. The essay grade will be 50% argument, 20% language
skills, 20% research and 10% presentation.

A+ (90-100)
· Argument: Clear development of a specific, challenging and original thesis. The writer has taken significant risks
successfully; in the resulting piece, distinctive ideas and content have discovered their necessary distinctive form.
Detailed reference to appropriate texts, with evidence of individual response. Ability not only to expound subject but
to see it around–subtleties and ambiguities, qualifications and concessions, relations to other subjects, etc.
· Presentation, structure: Quotations well integrated into text. Proper paragraphs. Almost no typographical errors.
· Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, with full range of sentence types (compound, complex, and
compound-complex), with full range of punctuation (including semicolons, colons, dashes, parentheses). Graceful
style, neither pompous nor breezy, and few errors.
· Research/scholarship: Evidence of effective, extensive and independent research, with proper documentation of
sources. Quotations used appropriately and purposively.
A (80 to 89)
· Argument: The writer has taken risks and most of them succeed. Clear development of a specific and challenging
thesis, with proper paragraphs. Detailed reference to appropriate texts, with evidence of individual response. Ability
not only to expound subject but to see it around–subtleties and ambiguities, qualifications and concessions, relations
to other subjects, etc.
· Presentation, structure: Quotations well integrated into text. Proper paragraphs. Almost no typographical errors.
· Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, with full range of sentence types (compound, complex, and
compound-complex), with full range of punctuation (including semicolons, colons, dashes, parentheses). Graceful
style, neither pompous nor breezy, and few errors
· Research/scholarship: Evidence of effective and independent research, with proper documentation of sources.
Quotations used appropriately and purposively.
                                        Film 2255E 2010-11: Representation of Gender and Sexuality 9

B (70 to 79)
· Argument: Clear development of a specific thesis, with proper paragraphs. Adequately detailed reference to texts.
Ability to expound reasonably sophisticated ideas with clarity. · Presentation/structure: Quotations well integrated
into text. Proper paragraphs. A few typographical errors.
· Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, with reasonable range of sentence types and full range of punctuation.
Style not too wordy, with errors relatively few and minor.
· Research Scholarship: Evidence of adequate research, with proper documentation of
C (60 to 69)
· Argument: Reasonably clear development of a thesis, with proper paragraphs. Basic ability to expound ideas,
whose development might be rather thin. Effort to support points with references to the text. Tendency to replace
analysis with descriptive retelling of plot.
· Presentation/structure: Presentation showing lapses in tidiness and/or proofreading. Poor use of paragraphs.
· Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, but perhaps overly simple, with tendency to avoid punctuation besides
period and comma. Errors relatively few, but occasionally serious, with evident misunderstanding of some point of
elementary grammar (comma splices, fragments, semicolon errors, subject-verb disagreements, poorly integrated
· Research/Scholarship: reasonable effort at documentation, but rather thin.
D (50 to 59)
· Argument: Difficulty with paragraphing or consecutive thought. Ideas inchoate but clouded by weak expression.
Overgeneralization with inadequate support, or examples that run to lengthy paraphrase, with little or no analysis.
· Presentation/Structure: Very poor to non-existent use of paragraphs. Inadequate and inaccurate documentation.
Multiple typographical errors.
· Language Skills: Errors of grammar or diction frequent enough to interfere with understanding.
· Research/Scholarship: Little serious effort to research the topic.
F (49 and down)
· Argument: Ideas too simple for level of course. Argument completely incoherent. Erroneous content showing little
or no understanding of subject.
· Presentation/Structure: Very sloppy proof-reading. Documentation virtually non-existent.
· Language Skills: writing frequently ungrammatical.
· Research/Scholarship: Non-existent. Content largely ―borrowed‖ from sources with no individual distillation, but
no apparent attempt to deceive.
0 (Report to Department)
· Plagiarism with intent to deceive

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