Course syllabus



MEDIA 711: Feminist Film Theory

SEMESTER 1, 2018

30 points


Course convenor

Associate Professor Misha Kavka
Phone: +64 9 923 5351
Office: HSB (Social Sciences Building), rm 526

Seminar times: Thursday 9-12

Seminar venue: Arts 1, rm 314

Course description

This course examines the long and rich tradition of feminist film theory and provides students with an understanding of its concerns. Topics will include the key semiotic and psychoanalytic approaches of the 1970s-1990s, Hollywood films which have inspired feminist debate, avant-garde cinema and postmodern cinema, as well as recent cinematic reconceptualisations of gender and sexuality. Students will become familiar with key theoretical concepts such as the gaze, desire, intersectionality, abjection, masochism and masquerade, as well as modes of feminist, queer and transgender resistance to traditional gender hierarchies.

Weekly seminar topics

Week 1: Psychoanalytic Theory and the Gaze

Week 2: Psychoanalytic Theory and Desire

Week 3: Feminist Experimental Film

Week 4: Intersections of Race and Gender

Week 5: Abjection and the Monstrous-Feminine

Week 6: Horror and the Body

Week 7: Camp, Masquerade and Postmodernism

Week 8: Masochism

Week 9: Pornographic Bodies and Perverse Pleasures

Week 10: Queer Cinema and Feminist Critique

Week 11: Transgender Debates

Week 12: Violent Women

Assessment breakdown

Reading responses (8 in total): 10%
Oral presentation (10 minutes): 10%
Short essay (2000 words): 20%
Research essay (5500-6000 words): 60%
Your overall course mark is the sum of your assignments. Details of assignments and deadlines will be posted under Assignments.

Teaching format and workload: The class meets weekly for a 3-hour seminar. Students are expected to come to class having completed all of the required readings and viewings, in preparation for active discussion and intellectual engagement. Weekly attendance of seminars is important to succeed in the course; in case of unforeseeable circumstances that prevent a student's attendance, the student must let the instructor know in advance. As with all 30-point courses, students are expected to devote 20 hours per week to class attendance, completion of weekly readings and viewings, and preparation of assignments.

Reading and viewing resource: There will be a minimum of three required readings each week and two required film viewings. In addition to the required readings, most weeks also have recommended readings to help students who want to gain a better understanding of the week’s topic. All readings are available through Talis (except for one, which is on Short Loan), and all films are available in the General Library. 

Course summary:

Date Details