JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

Media Aesthetics:
Sexual Representation

Fall 2002, RTF 422
TuTh 3-5, 102 AMS   (and other spaces)
Chuck Kleinhans
office: 209 AMS, 491-2255; 491-7315
office hours 3-5 Wed and by appointment
chuckkle@northwestern.edu

Sexual Representation
A broad overview of media representations of sexuality ranging from advertising to Hollywood film, high art to commercial pornography.  Topics covered include the “sex wars” debates within feminism in the 1980s, policy and legal issues of censorship and regulation, new technologies such as digital/internet pornography, the use of sexual images within sexual subcultures, avant garde and grassroots examples.  In addition to theoretical. cultural, and textual analysis, social, legal, and policy analysis will be included in a multi-faceted approach to the key issues.  Emphasis will  be on the evolution of critical discussion of sexual images in the past decade and new voices engaging the issues.

Course goals
•To provide a broad introduction to and overview of the field of sexual representations.
•To study provide a background to critical thinking about the key issues
•To examine recent developments in the analysis of pornography
•To investigate new issues brought about by technological change such as the change from film to video and the presence of the internet.
•To consider the social context of image cultures.
•To learn the new scholarship in the field, and the problems of developing critical thinking about controversial materials.

Enrollment: 12, permission of instructor required.  The course examines fundamental issues in the representation of sexuality and gender which are on-going policy and practical concerns for media professionals.  Examples will be taken from advertising, telecommunication, commercial film and television, popular music, commercial pornography, the taboo-breaking avant-garde, sex education, and materials circulated for and within stigmatized sexual subcultures.

The course will include lecture, presentations, screenings, readings and discussion.  Material will be screened in class as well as involve student initiated research.  Much of the material will be controversial; some of it will be intentionally offensive.  Because discussion will be a central mode of class meetings, regular attendance and preparation of the assigned readings will be essential, as well as tolerance for a wide range of views over an unusually controversial set of issues.

Students can opt for one of several approaches to the course which will be worked out with the professor.  Everyone will do some core readings and some individual additional reading which will be reported to the class.  Beyond that, students can choose:
a.  a broad exploratory reading of the state of the field, documented with a journal or set of short papers
b. an intermediate research aimed at depth examination of one area, emphasizing reading and a final outline for an article or elegant review of the question with an elaboration of future research/argument/analysis
c. a seminar type research or critical paper aimed at being the first draft of a conference presentation or scholarly article.

Assigned readings
Books are available a Norris Center store

Linda Williams, Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the “Frenzy of the Visible”  (California)  Expanded paperback edition

Laura Kipnis, Bound and Gagged, paperback (Duke)

Pamela Church Gibson, Dirty Looks: Women, Pornography, Power.  British Film institute, paperback

Samuel Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue  NYU, paperback

Students should expect to purchase/rent/obtain through interlibrary loan/or otherwise access some additional books, video/DVDs, etc.  Additional screenings may need to be arranged of film materials in a different room.  Some films screened in Chuck’s Experimental Film course (TuTh 10-12) are relevant to the course

PART ONE: HOW DO WE UNDERSTAND SEXUAL REPRESENTATION?

Th Sept 26
course overview and screening:  The O’Reilly Factor (clip)  and other short work
lecture:
A. the sex wars debate, a brief history and analysis
B.  the  social constructionist argument about sexuality

Tu Oct 1
internet research project, one (detailed in handout)
reading:
John Berger, Ways of Seeing, (all quickly, with attention to last two chapters on images of women)
Kleinhans, “Teaching Sexual Images: Some Pragmatics”
Rabinowitz, “Barbara Stanwyck’s Anklet”

Slide lecture on semiotics of the image: high heel shoes 1

Th Oct 3
reading/report:
by Wed. at 5 pm, post first outside reading discussion on Blackboard

Slide lecture on semiotics of the image: shoes 2

PART TWO: WHAT IS PORN, WHAT IS ITS HISTORY? ITS INSTITUTIONAL NATURE?

Tu Oct 8
read: Williams, to p. 152
screening and discussion: clips TBA

Th Oct 10--screening (Chuck out of town)
second outside reading discussion on Blackboard
in-class screening, PBS Frontline, “American Porn”  and additional selection, TBA such as Dreamworks 2, Not A Love Story, etc.

Tu Oct 15
net: Frontline "American Porn" website
read: finish Williams
screening and discussion, clips TBA

Th Oct 16
--internet porn, (meet in Fisk computer lab)
read: “Sex Sells” (Wired article on porn entrepreneur Warshawsky)

PART THREE; CASE STUDY, PERFORMER AND CAREER:  ANNIE SPRINKLE

Tu Oct 22
outside screening: Boogie Nights (d. Paul Thomas Anderson)
read:
Straayer, Williams in Dirty Looks, Kleinhans”When Did Annie Sprinkle become a Performance Artist?” (handout)
screening and discussion:  Annie Sprinkle’s Herstory of Porn

Th Oct 24
read:
articles by Kapsalis, Colby, Sprinkle; net sites on Sprinkle
screening and discussion: Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle

Tu Oct 29
screen: Annie Sprinkle, early loops
clips from “roughies”

reading and preliminary discussion
Dyer, “Gay Male Porn”
Waugh, “Men’s Pornography: Gay vs. Straight”

PART FOUR; PORNOGRAPHY AS SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT

Th Oct 31
virtual communities
internet 2 meet in Fisk lab
reading: Kipnis 1 “Fantasy in America”  intro to p. 62

Tu Nov 5
porn/erotica and cultural distinction
read:
Kipnis, 2  to the end.
Penley, “Crackers and Whackers”
screening (clips) and discussion

Th Nov 7
sexual subcultures and pornographic spaces
read:
Delaney, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
Champagne, John. "'Stop Reading Films!': Film Studies, Close Analysis, and Gay Pornography." Cinema Journal 36.4 (1997): 76-97.

Tu Nov 12
the avant garde community
read:
various short avant garde films on sexuality

PART FIVE: CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, VIRTUAL AND REAL, THE LAW AND THE IMAGE

Th Nov 14
read
Supreme Court decision in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition
Kincaid, “Myths, Legends, Folktales, and Lies” from Erotic Innocence
Levine, “Manhunt: The Pedophile Panic” from Harmful to Minors
internet searches on “child pornography”

Tu Nov 19
read
Excerpts from Jenkins, Beyond Tolerance
Higonnet, “Photographs Against the Law” from Pictures of Innocence
Frauedenfelder, “Webcam Girls”

PART SIX: RESEARCH PROBLEMS, THEORY AND ETHICS, THEORY AND PRACTICE
Th Nov 21

articles by Waugh, Gaines, Straayer, Jenkins, Lehman

Tu Nov 26
case study
read:
Kleinhans articles and work in progress on sexual representation

Th Nov 28  Thanksgiving holiday, no class

Tu Dec 3
presentation of student work

Th Dec 5
presentation of student work
wrap up

Final papers due.....5 pm Wed. Dec 1

(go to next page: Further References

To syllabi

To vita index


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