Bodies Re/Presented: Gendered Identities in Visual Culture (MA Seminar)

Course information


Bodies Re/Presented: Gendered Identities in Visual Culture

(MA, seminar)


Annus Iren

Course code



American Seminar Room


Wed 8-10

Course description

Short description

Human bodies operate as primary sites for the re/presentation, re/production and re/negotiation of identities. They are also signs that reflect social hierarchies and relations of power, encoded through visible cultural and ideological positionings and prescriptions. This course hopes to adopt a critical perspective within cultural studies in order to investigate the multifaceted ways in which the body as a sign is constructed through a permanent dialectics of internal as well as external definitions of the self, characterized by an increasing power of intersectionality that offers an unprecedented plurality and particularization of gendered experiences, identities and re/presentations. The course introduces students to critical feminist approaches to visual culture as part of cultural production, including major strategies of spectatorship, with a focus on various understandings of the gaze as a gendered and gendering constituent of visual experience.

Through examples primarily drawn from contemporary American visual re/presentations, the course explores various aspects of gendered depictions of the human body (incl. images of racialized, colonized, medicalized, terrorized/victimized, ethnicized bodies), often through moments of their historical construction, within the framework of changing western, white hetero-normative dominance and of underlying currents that have aimed at negotiating and subverting this.



  1. Feb 6 Body, sexuality, gender and re/presentation
  2. Feb 13 Spectatorship (forms and related power relations)

Eck, “Men are much harder: Gendered Viewing of Nude Images.”

  1. Feb 20 Visual typologies of gender 1. (constructions of gender and sexuality)

Buysee and Emberser-Herbert, “Constructions of Gender in Sports: An Analysis of Intercollegiate Media Guide Cover Photographs.”

  1. Feb 27 Visual typologies of gender 2. (intersections with race and colonization)

Bailey Woodard and Mastin, “Black Womanhood: Essence and its Treatment of Stereotypical Images of Black Women.”

  1. March 6 Customizing the body 1. (body art and aesthetics)

Patterson and Schroeder, “Borderlines: Skin, tattoos and consumer culture theory.”

  1. March 13 Customizing the body 2. (practices of physical intervention)

Pedwell, “Theorizing ‘African’ Female Genital Cutting and ‘Western’ Body Modifications”

  1. March 20 Re/presenting gender 1. (faith and ethnicity)

MacDonald and Neshat, “Between Two Worlds: An Interview with Shirin Neshat.”

  1. April 3 Re/presenting gender 2. (pop culture)

Taylor, “’He’s Gotta Be Strong, and He’s Gotta Be Fast, and He’s Gotta Be Larger Than Life’: Investigating the Engendered Superhero Body.” 1-bb3c-46fa-8aaa-96cc4431de4f@sessionmgr11&vid=23&hid=109

  1. April 10 Performing the subject 1. (dance and music) PROJECTS ARE DUE

Draughon, “Dance and Decadence: Class, Gender and Modernity in the Scherzo of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.”

  1. April 17 Performing the subject 2. (gendering the landscape)

Desmond, “Invoking “The Native”: Body Politics in Contemporary Hawaiian Tourist Shows.”

  1. April 24 Re/negotiating gender 1. (cultural interventions)

Hart, “We’re Here, We’re Queer – and We’re Better Than You: The Representational Superiority of Gay Men to Heterosexuals on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”

  1. Re/negotiating gender 2. (political interventions)

Ellis, “Revolutionary Spaces: Photographs of Working-Class Women by Esther Bubley 1940-43.”

  1. May 8 Final quiz
  2. May 15 Project discussion



Requirements to get the grade

Students are expected to be prepared to participate in class discussions; to give an oral presentation on one of the topics; to take the final quiz; and to submit a 15-page research project, prepared in groups of two/three. Students may not miss more than 3 classes; if they do, they will earn a failing grade.


Reading list

See list of topics



Friss Hírek

Friss Hírek RSS

Március 15-e alkalmából a Szegedi Tudományegyetem Bölcsészettudományi Karának két professzora (Barna Gábor és Felföldi László) is Magyar Érdemrend Tisztikereszt polgári tagozat kitüntetést vett át.