Henry Jenkins (email@example.com), Literature Section, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Henry Jenkins, 14N-437 253-3068 (W) 628-7218 (H)
Office Hours:MF 11-12, W 1-2 or By appointment
As recent cultural critics have noted, popular culture constitutes a contradictory and often unstable mixture of progressive and reactionary elements. Popular culture offers utopian possibilities of fundamental social transformations and reaffirms dominant ideological assumptions. Nowhere is this paradox more accutely felt than in the ways that gender and sexual identities are constructed and circulated within popular culture. This course is designed to explore this issue across diverse realms of popular culture with a particular focus on popular magazines, rock music, cinema, television and comic books. Among the issues to be considered are: gender ideology in children's toys and narratives; youth culture as a site of sexual and ideological experimentation; the star system and its relationship to sexual identity; the interpretive and reception practices of the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities; the gender assumptions embodied within particular generic traditions; racial stereotypes and their relationship to gender and sexual identities; and the construction of idealized male and female bodies.
Course requirements: A weekly one-to-two page journal discussing the readings, screening and other course material (Due every Monday); two ten-page research papers centering on topics chosen by the student in consultation with the instructors.
Robert Allen, Channels of Discourse
Camera Obscura, 25-26
Robert Bly, Iron John
Kenneth Anger, Hollywood Babylon
Sara Paretsky, Blood Shot
Course Pack (Available from MIT Graphic Arts, . Unless otherwise stated, all of the readings listed below are in the course pack.)
A Popular romance of the student's choice
Angela McRobbie, Feminism and Youth Culture
Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture
Susan Willis, A Premier of Daily Life
Janice Radway, Reading the Romance
Linda Williams, Hardcore
Mary Ellen Brown, Television and Women's Culture
F Sept. 11 Introduction
Mimi White, "Ideological Analysis and Television" (Robert Allen)
M Sept. 14 "Oz the All-Powerful": Hegimony and Popular Culture
John Fiske, "British Cultural Studies and Television" (Robert Allen)
W Sept. 16 "Off to See the Wizard": The Popular Audience
Richard Dyar, "Judy Garland and Gay Men" from Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society (New York:St. Martin's Press, 1986)
Danae Clarke, "Commodity Lesbianism" (Camera Obscura)
Screening: Paper Tiger TV on Children's Cartoons; "Out"takes; Peter Pan
F Sept. 18 "Catching Kooties": Gender and Children's Culture
Susan Willis, "Gender as Commodity" and "Playing House" from A Premier of Daily Life (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991).
Miriam Formanek-Brunell, "Sugar and Spite: The Politics of Doll Play in 19th Century America," in Elliott West and Paula Petrik (Ed.), Small Worlds: Children and Adolescents in America, 1850-1950 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1992).
M Sept. 21 Opening The Playhouse Closset
Alexander Doty, "The Sissy Boy, The Fat Ladies, and the Dykes: Queerness and/as Gender in Pee-Wee's World" (Camera Obscura)
(Rec.) Tania Modleski, "The Incredible Shrinking He(r)man: Male Regression, the Male Body and Film." Feminism Without Women (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991)
(Rec.) Constance Penley, "The Cabinet of Dr. Pee-Wee:Consumerism and Sexual Terror" in Constance Penley (Ed.), The Future of an Illusion: FIlm, Feminism and Psychoanalysis (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989).
W Sept. 23 Uncle Walt's Good Little Boys and Girls
Donald Crafton, "The Last Night in the Nursery: Walt Disney's Peter Pan," The Velvet Light Trap, Fall 1989.
Screening: Madonna: The Immaculate Collection; Dreamworlds
F Sept. 25 Girl Stuff: Teen Culture
Angela McRobbie, "Jackie Magazine: Romantic Individualism and the Teenage Girl," Feminism and Youth Culture (London: MacMillan, 1991). NOTE: Copies of this recommended book are available at the Coop and include an interesting essay updating this article by looking at where this teen magazine has gone in the 1980s.)
"Kissin' Couples," "Who's Sorry Now?," "Cruel Summer," "The Boys of Summer," "Mouse," Jackie Summer Special, 1991.
M Sept. 28 "I Want My MTV"
E. Ann Kaplan, "Feminist Criticism and Television" (Robert Allen)
W Sept. 30 "Boy Toy": The Madonna Phenomenon
Cathy Schwichtenberg, "Madonna's Postmodern Feminism: Bringing the Margins to the Center," The Southern Communication Journal, Winter 1992.
(Rec.) James Collins, "Postmodernism and Television" (Robert Allen)
Screening: Rock'N'Roll High School; Riding with the King; L Is For the Way You Look; A Girl's Own Story
F Oct. 1 "The King Lives"
Sue Wise, "Sexing Elvis" in Simon Frith and Andrew Goodwin (Eds.), On Record: Rock, Pop and the Written Word (New York: Pantheon, 1990).
Lynn Spigel, "Communicating with the Dead: Elvis as Medium," Camera Obscura, 23: Popular Culture and Reception Studies.
M Oct. 4 "My Guy": Rock, Fans and Groupies
Cheryl Kline, "Essays from Bitch: The Women's Rock Newsletter with Bite," in Lisa A. Lewis (Ed.), The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1992).
Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess, Gloria Jacobs, "Beatlemania: Girls Just Want to Have Fun," in Lisa A. Lewis (Ed.), The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1992).
Tom Carson, "Rocket to Russia," in Simon Frith and Andrew Goodwin (Eds.), On Record: Rock, Pop and the Written Word (New York: Pantheon, 1990).
FIRST PAPER DUE
W Oct. 6 Stars and Gossip
Andrea Weiss, "A Queer Feeling When I Look at You: Hollywood Stars and Lesbian Spectatorship in the 1930s" in Christine Gledhill, Stardom (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991).
In-Class Screening: Meeting of Two Queens
Screening: Pillow Talk; Committed
F Oct. 8 "A Piece of the Rock"
Richard Meyer, "Rock Hudson's Body," from Diana Fuss (Ed.), Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories (New York: Routledge, 1991).
M Oct. 12 NO CLASS
W Oct. 14 Scandelous Sexuality
Kenneth Anger, Hollywood Babylon
Screening: Woman on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown; Black Lizard
F 16 NO CLASS. ATTEND "POPULAR CULTURES" CONFERENCE, KILLIAN HALL
M Oct. 19 Camping Out with Batman and Almodovar
Andy Medhurst, "Batman, Deviance and Camp" From Roberta E. Pearson and William Uricchio (Eds.), The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and His Media (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall,1991).
W Oct. 21 "The Third Sex"
Sandra Buckley, "Penquin in Bondage: A Graphic Tale of Japanese Comic Books," in Constance Penley and Andrew Ross (Eds.) Technoculture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991).
Ian Buruma, "The Third Sex," Behind the Mask: On Sexual Demons, Sacred Mothers, Transvestites, Gangsters and Other Japanese Cultural Heroes (New York: Pantheon, 1984).
Screening: Predator; Paris is Burning
F Oct. 23 What a Drag!
Marjorie Garber, "Breaking the Code: Transvestism and Gay Identity" in Vested Interests (New York: Routledge, 1992).
M Oct. 26 "Wild Men" Or "Lost Boys"?
Robert Bly, Iron John
W Oct. 28 Vietnam and Masculinity
William Warner, "Spectacular Action: Rambo and the Popular Pleasures of Pain" in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler (Eds.), Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991).
Screening: Kiss Me Deadly; Silence of the Lambs
F Oct. 30 "To Boldly Go...": Rethinking Male Bonding
Henry Jenkins, "Welcome to Bisexuality, Captain Kirk: Slash and the Fan Writing Community," Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1992).
L. A. Scotian, "Kah'zhai!," Paean to Priapus I (Manhattan Beach, CA: Oblique Publications, 1990).
L.A. Scotian, "The King Who Would Be Man," Paean to Priapus II (Manhattan Beach, CA: Oblique Publications, 1990).
M. Fae Glasgow, "The Harbourmaster's Tale," Paean to Priapus I (Manhattan Beach, CA: Oblique Publications, 1990).
Edi N. Burgh, "Post Scriptum," Paean to Priapus II (Manhattan Beach, CA: Oblique Publications, 1990).
M Nov. 2 Tough Dicks and Femme Fatales?
Janey Place, "Women in Film Noir," in E. Ann Kaplan (Ed.), Women in Film Noir (London: British Film Institute, 1978).
Carol Flinn, "Sound, Woman and the Bomb: Dismembering the "Great Whatsit" in Kiss Me Deadly," Wide Angle, Fall 1986.
W Nov. 4 The Final Girl
Carol Clover, "Her Body, Himself" and "Afterword" From Men, Women and Chain Saws:Gender in the Modern Horror Film (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)
Screening: Imitation of Life; Broken Blossoms
F Nov. 6 Women of Mystery
Sara Paretsky, Blood Shot
M Nov. 9 "Having a Good Cry": The Power of Sentimentality
Jane Tompkins, "Sentimental Power: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Politics of Literary History" in Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl (Eds.), Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991).
Guest Lecturer: Jane Shattuc, Emerson College
W Nov. 11 The Melodramatic Imagination
Thomas Elsaesser, "Tales of Sound and Fury: Observations on the Family Melodrama" in Bill Nichols (Ed.), Movies and Methods, II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).
Inclass Screening: Illusions
Screening: Desert Hearts; Where the Heart Roams;Framing Lesbian Fashion
F Nov. 13 Romantic Fantasies
Janice Radway, "The Readers and their Romances," in Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl (Eds.), Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991).
M Nov. 16 Generic Pleasures
Read a romance novel of your choice.
W Nov. 18 Butch and Femme: Rethinking Romance
Christine Holmlund, "When Is a Lesbian Not a Lesbian?" (Camera Obscura)
Screening: Boys 'N' The Hood; Hairpiece: A Film For Nappy Haired People; Land Where My Fathers Died; Body Beautiful
F Nov. 20 Remaking the Black Body
Kobena Mercer, "Black Hair/Style Wars," in Russell Ferguson, Martha Gever, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Cornel West (Eds.), Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990).
(Rec.) Kobena Mercer, "Monster Metaphors: Notes on Michael Jackson's Thriller" in Christine Gledhill (Ed.), Stardom: Industry of Desire (New York: Routledge, 1991).
M Nov. 23 Black Masculinity
Haki R. Madhubuti, "Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?" from Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? (Chicago: Third World Press, 1990).
M Nov. 30 Rapping About Race and Gender
Tricia Rose, "Never Trust a Big Butt and a Smile," Camera Obscura, 23: Popular Culture and Reception Studies
W Dec. 2 Virtual Bodies: Wallowing in the MUD
Special Guest: Amy Bruckman, MIT Media Lab
Screening: Pumping Iron II: The Women
F Dec. 4 Pornography as Popular Culture
Laura Kipnis, "(Male) Desire and (Female) Disgust: Reading Hustler" in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler (Eds.), Cultural Studies (New York: Routlege, Chapman and Hall, 1992).
SECOND PAPER DUE
Inclass Screening: Dick
M Dec. 7 Safe and Unsafe Words: Rethinking S/M
Read one work from the reserve room materials on the S/M Debate. (Bibliography to be provided later)
W Dec. 9 Pumping and Ripping
Laurie Schultze, "On the Muscle," From Jane Gaines and Charlotte Herzog, Fabrications: Fashion and the Cinema (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991).