Queer and Feminist Film Studies

Film still of Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon from Bound, 1996

University of Pennsylvania

Spring 2013

Course website + syllabus

QUEER: “the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone’s gender, of anyone’s sexuality aren’t made (or can’t be made) to signify monolithically”  —Eve Sedgwick, Tendencies

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out”  —Martin Scorsese

This course offers an introduction to queer and feminist film studies, focusing on several key genres, directors, and themes in transnational queer and feminist film cultures and scholarship. We will explore what makes a particular film or media practice “queer” and/or “feminist,” and what role media production, distribution, and exhibition have in the process. We will examine constructions of sexuality, gender, race, and nation in a variety of films and investigate how transnational queer and feminist cinemas can both participate in and resist dominant ideas about sexuality, imperialism, race, gender, politics, and community. The course teaches basic film concepts (editing, cinematography, mise-en-scène, etc.) so that students can apply them to the films we watch. Students will learn to incorporate formal film analysis into an analysis of ideology, production, circulation, and consumption, and will develop the skills to construct compelling arguments about the politics of cinema. Students will also learn production skills and familiarity with digital video production, digital mapping software, blogs, and microblogging.