January 13

Week 1- Queer Theories/Queer Movies Introductions and Syllabus Review:

– Setting the stage for queer cinema: art, politics, and transformed categories

-history, selections from Celluloid Closet.

– Screening of It Wasn’t Love (dir. Sadie Benning, 1992; 19 min)

– For 1/20 WATCH: Pink Flamingos (dir. John Waters, 1972, 93 min). Screening after class in Meyer, 4:15.

And Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story   on youtube


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January 20

Week 2- Queer Theories

– RJ: What is “Queer Cinema”?     1-2 paragraphs. Cite NQC at least 1 time.

How is the Karen Carpenter Story queer?

What is Karen Carpenter story and Pink Flamingos implying about the nuclear family and “straight” life? 1-2 paragraphs.

(3-4 paragraphs total)  Cite readings as applicable.

– READ: New Queer Cinema (NQC) Ch. 1/“Introduction” AND Ch.7/“Queer”and Todd Haynes Interview Cinematic and Sexual Transgression and Pathos and Pathology The Cinema of Todd Haynes

– First half of class: Discuss The Karen Carpenter Story.

– Second half of class: Screening of Dottie Gets Spanked (dir. Todd Haynes, 1993, 27 min) Discuss: What does “queer” mean?  What is “queer theory”?

– FOR 1/27 WATCH: (required) Hedwig and the Angry Inch (dir. John Cameron Mitchell, 2001, 95 min) and (optional) Polyester (John Waters, 1981, 86 min)

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January 27

Week 3-

– RJ: How is Hedwig a queer movie? What is your response to this film viscerally? Intellectually? How does queer theory help us to understand queer cinema? (2-3 paragraphs)

– READ: Annamarie Jagose, Ch. 8/ “Contestations of Queer” and Judith Butler, Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions

  • _____________ leads Discussions

– In class discuss:

  • How does queer cinema help us to understand queer theory?
  • How does queer theory help us to understand queer cinema?
  • Could queer cinema itself be a form of queer theory?

– FOR 2/3 WATCH: Paris is Burning (dir. Jennie Livingston, 1990, 71 min)

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February 3

Week 4-

RJ: What does “performative” mean?  How does the term apply to gender? What are some other key terms in Butler’s work?  What do they mean?  How is gender “performative”? Please address a specific scence in the film, as well as at least two of the three readings in your response.

– READ: Judith Butler, Gender is Burning

  • _________leads discussion.

Queens of Language Paris is Burning by Jacky Goldsby

  • ___________leads discussion

Daniel T. Contreras, “New Queer Cinema: Spectacle, Race, Utopia” (NQC)

– For 2/10 WATCH: High Art (dir. Lisa Cholodenko, 1998, 102 min.)

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February 10


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Mise-en-scène (notes)

Week 5-

– READ: Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema”

  • ___________leads discussion

And New Lesbian Film (Anat Pick) Chapter 8 (NQC)

– In class discuss: Women and cinema: pleasure, spectacle, narrative, and objectification

– RJ: What are the linchpins of Mulvey’s argument?  What is its value? In what ways does Mulvey overstate her argument?  What is the value of overstatement?  How can we envision her “radical cinema”? How does this work in High Art?

– Screening of Hairspray (dir. John Waters, 1988, 92 min) after class.

– Screen together for 2/17: My Own Private Idaho (dir. Gus Van Sant, 1991, 104 min)

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February 17

Week 6-

RJ: How does Hairspray queer Race? Also: How does Fanon’s perspective on the racial gaze differ from or comment on Mulvey’s perspective on the gendered gaze? Are there examples of a racial/racialized gaze in any of the films we’ve seen?

– In Class: Screening of Looking For Langston (dir. Isaac Julian, 1988, 45 min.)

Scenes from: Frantz Fanon: Black Skin/White Masks (scenes chosen by Alicia and Joao.)

– Selections from Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs)(scenes chosen by Alicia and Joao.)

  • Discussion of Riggs/Fanon/Wallenberg lead by presenters.

– In class discuss: Queer historiography and questions of race, Black queer cinema and the questions of history, and Gaze theory in relation to race/Postcolonial Theory

– READ: Louise Wallenberg, “New Black Queer Cinema” (NQC) and

Dark and Lovely Too: Black Gay Men in Ind Film

Black Skin White Masks, “The Fact of Blackness”” Frantz Fanon, Black Skin/White Masks

The book is on reserve in the library, chapter will be scanned and posted ASAP.

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February 24

Week 7-

– RJ: Robert Lang offers an argument about why this film is “queer not gay”— and radical in its refusal of neat resolutions—-do you agree or disagree? Explain. Cite at least two of the readings as well as the film in your response. 2-4 paragraphs.

– READ:“Queer Historical Subjects” Scott Braverman and “Shakespeare in Black Leather” by Lance Loud and “My Own Private Idaho and the New Queer Road Movies” by Robert Lang and “Authorship Studies and Gus Van Sant” by Janet Staiger

– In class discuss: How do queer theory and postmodernism reckon with life-and-death events? How do we write histories of marginalized groups or performative subjects?

  • ___________leads discussion (using Staiger and Lang as a jumping off point.)

– ALSO in class: workshop Midterm papers, bring in draft of your thesis

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