Gender and American Popular Culture Monday 10: 00-12: 00 Michelle Gardner-Morkert, Ph. D. Office Hour: Tuesdays 10: 30-11: 30 and by appointment Week 1 Introduction to critical concepts of gender



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Gender and American Popular Culture

Monday 10:00-12:00
Michelle Gardner-Morkert, Ph.D.

Office Hour: Tuesdays 10:30-11:30 and by appointment
Week 1 - Introduction to critical concepts of gender.

Distinguish between concepts of sex and gender, and analyze social construction of gender and ideas

within American popular culture regarding masculinities and femininities as a set of culturally-specific

meanings. Introduce primary concepts: social construction, gender identity, gender roles, gender

performativity, sex/gender system, and intersectionality.
Week 2 – Defining popular culture in contemporary U.S. society

Trace the history of U.S. pop culture noting historical moments that include : folk culture, mass culture,

high culture, hegemony, postmodern culture, cultural identities, global culture, commercial culture.

Reflect on student consumption of popular culture.



Reading Assignment due for week 2: Trier-Bieniek and Leavy, Chapter 1 pgs. 1-21
Week 3 – Production, representation, and consumption of gendered popular U.S. culture.

Multi-week overview of waves of the U.S. women’s movement to assist analyses of contemporary

U.S. pop culture. Examine the range of practices and rituals by which American culture produces and

consumes pop culture. Define media culture as one of the major agents of socialization through which cultural norms and values are learned in the U.S.



Assignment: Popular consumption tracker and discussion

Group discussion of popular consumption and gender analysis.
Week 4 – First Wave History

Beginning with the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, the overview of first wave history spans from 1848-

1920. Analysis includes legislation, key historical figures, and examples of activism within the early U.S. women’s movement.

Reading Assignment due for week 4: Coryell Chapter 7, pgs. 267-314
Week 5 – First Wave History Part II

Analysis of the contemporary HBO film depicting US women’s suffrage, Iron Jawed Angels, as both a representation of gender and a product of gendered popular culture consumed through the genre of film.



Reading Assignment due for week 5: Coryell Chapter 8, pgs. 315-361

Screening: Iron Jawed Angels
Week 6 – Pre-Second Wave History

Discussion about the pre and post war media representations of militarized femininities embodied in

the iconic image of “Rosie the Riveter.” Examination through intersectional analysis of the longevity of “Rosie” as a figure of women’s liberation.

Reading Assignment due for week 6: Coryell Chapter 9, pgs. 362-402

Screening: Rosie the Riveter

Film Summary Due


Week 7 – Second Wave History

Referencing specifically the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, analysis and discussion will include essays, legislation, images, and interviews. Overview of radical, cultural, and women of color theories.



Reading Assignment due for week 7: Coryell Chapter 10, pgs. 408-458

Film Summary Due
Week 8 – Midterm Exam
Week 9 – Third Wave History

Interrogation of concepts of multiple identities and traditional categories such as male/female,

masculine/feminine, and the artificiality of gender binaries. Key concepts include the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, Rebecca Walker third wave manifesto, and the problematizing intersections of gender , sexuality, and age.

Reading Assignment due for week 9: Coryell Chapter 11, pgs. 459-507
Week 10 – Application of queer theory, transgender theory concepts and intersectional analysis

exemplified in Orange is the Netflix original series New Black (OITNB). Discuss the trajectory of the U.S. gay rights movement and its effects on contemporary activism including marriage equality debates.



Reading Assignment due for week 10: Trier-Bienick and Leavy Chapter 2, pgs. 26-52
Week 11 – Social construction of gender identities in children’s media

Analysis of the impact of children’s media on viewers and parents including intersectional analysis of

race, class, gender, sexuality, and heteronormativity. Discussion will introduce an intersectional analysis of Disney films.

Reading Assignment due for week 11: Orenstein Chapters 2-3 pgs. 11-53

Screening: Mickey Mouse Monopoly
Week 12 – Social construction of gender identities in children’s media

Exploration of U.S. society’s consumption of Disney products and the reciprocal relationship between

gendered representations and childhood internalization of gendered norms.

Reading Assignment due for week 12: Orenstein Chapter 4 pgs. 54-70

Assignment due for week 12: Disney Analysis
Week 13 – Social Media and Television Culture

Analysis of ways in which television programming assigns gender roles to characters and the relationship between viewers and subjects. Emphasis on reality television and social construction. Distinguish between schools of thought within cyberfeminism including utopian visions of gender

equality, disruption of patriarchy and power, and grassroots subversion of power through individualized uses of technology.

Reading Assignment due for week 13: Trier-Bienick and Leavy Chapter 3 pgs. 53-79 and Chapter 8 pgs. 175-189
Week 14 – Sport Culture

Discussion of U.S. women’s history in sports with a sociological interpretation of how gender norms are connected to and constructed by sports culture. Analysis of key male and female figures in professional athletics.



Reading Assignment due for week 14: Trier-Bienick and Leavy Chapter 5 pgs. 103-120

Screening: Tough Guise 2
Week 15 – Sport Culture

Case study analysis of pay equity in professional tennis that includes historical references to causal

relationship between second wave and third wave histories.

Reading Assignment due for week 15: Trier-Bienick and Leavy Chapter 7 pgs. 151-53

Film Summary Due
Final Exam Paper Due via E-mail:
Assignments:

All papers should be written in MLA format and should include proper citation. One tzped page should equal 250 words. Please include a total word count at the bottom of the final page of the text, excluding the List of Works Cited Page.


Attendance and participation

Pop Culture Consumption Exercise

Film Summaries (3)

Disney Analysis

Midterm Exam

Final Exam Essay


Film Summaries:

Select one primary theme from class readings and lecture that was evident in the film. Write a three page (750 word) analysis of that theme as it relates to course readings and lectures. Include at least three textual references and a List of Works Cited Page. Students will write three summaries throughout the semester.


Pop Culture Consumption:

Make a list of the popular culture that you consume throughout a 48 hour time period. What mode do you consume the most and for how long? Talley the hours and write a one page assessment of the influence of gender in one example popular culture from your list.


Disney Analysis:

Select one Disney-influenced product and conduct a gender analysis using the primary questions that

The class implemented in the first half of the semester. You may select may select an object that is intended for children or adults. Film clips are not appropriate for this assignment.
Submit a three page (750 words, excluding List of Works Cited Page) in MLA format. Include textual evidence and cite sources throughout the essay. Students will present their findings in class.
1. Where are the women/girls?

-Which women/girls?

-What roles do they play?

-In what ways do they exert their power?

-In what ways to they define femininities and/or masculinities?

-How do they represent their gender identities?

2. Where are the men/boys?

-Which men/boys?

-What roles do they play?

-In what ways do they exert their power?

-In what ways to they define femininities and/or masculinities?

-How do they represent their gender identities?

3. What concepts from Orenstein’s text can you apply to your analysis? Select at least two.

4. Analyze the politics of consumption for this product.



Prepare your 3 page written analysis (excluding bibliography) to present in class. Students must include

textual evidence and site sources throughout essay.


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