Course Description:

This class addresses queer cinematic representations and explores the rise of queer film scholarship in the 1970s by considering issues of spectatorship, authorship, and queerness inherent within mainstream and experimental films. Equipped with theories of media and theories of gender, sexuality, race and the gaze, we will investigate a variety of creative works made by gay and lesbian filmmakers and reconsider the category of so-called New Queer Cinema. This class will examine work by directors including: Sadie Benning, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Cheryl Dunye, John Waters, Isaac Julian, Marlon Riggs and Lisa Cholodenko.

To be sure, queer cinema is responsive to the specific concerns of queer theory, politics, and life experience—exploring themes, stories, and ways of seeing that carry particular resonance for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and other queer-identified people.  At the same time, like any genre of film, queer cinema raises broader questions about filmmaking as an artistic and social phenomenon, about the ways of “reading” a movie using precise terms of analysis, and about any number of the cultural problems around images, industry, gender, nationality, race, and representation. This course presumes no prior experience in either queer studies or film studies, though it aims to provide all of its students with a sturdy foundation and a healthy, open-ended curiosity in both areas.  All perspectives are warmly welcomed.


Midterm Papers 20%

Final Paper 20%

Response Journals 20%

General Participation including events, attendance, etc. 20%

(This includes attending the Waters event, and at least one Waters screening, as well as several group screenings)

Leading Class Discussion and public discussion 10 %

Global Presentation 10 %


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