Women and US Film
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
28 March 2022
Requisites for this module
This module aims to explore critical issues pertaining to women and US film from the mid-20th century to the present day. The course will look at questions surrounding women's production and women's representation across US film, and interrogate the links between the two.
Students will be introduced to key issues in feminism, feminist film theory and women's filmmaking to consider how various forms of cinema, from mainstream Hollywood films to independent productions and art cinema, explore these issues. Students will engage with a range of conceptual and theoretical frameworks from foundational arguments in feminist film theory (such as issues surrounding the male gaze and auteur theory) to the most pressing questions relating to women and film today, such as intersectionality, #MeToo, and the value of women`s creative work.
1. To outline critical moments in women’s film production and representation from the mid-20th century to the present day
2. To explore key theoretical and conceptual issues in feminist film theory, feminist film history and women’sfilmmaking
3. To situate representations of women within their relevant political, social, cultural and historical contexts
4. To critically evaluate the ways in which women’s film production engageswith representations of women
By the end of the module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of issues relating to women’s film production, representation and reception
2. Demonstrate an ability to interrogate women’s representation within various theoretical and contextual frameworks
3. Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate the links between women’s filmmaking and women`s representation
4. Submit written material for assessment which meets academic conventions and demonstrates a critical-analytical understanding of the themes covered on this module.
1 Why Feminist Film Theory? #MeToo, Women and Film
2 The Male Gaze
3 Disrupting the Male Gaze I: Women Audiences
4 Disrupting the Male Gaze II: Women Authors
5 Feminist Film Theory and Race
6 Feminist Film Theory and Sexuality
7 Preparing for the Assignment
8 Genre I: The Erotic Thriller and the Femme Fatale
9 Genre II: Chick Flicks and the Postfeminist Girl
10 Women's Authorship: Past, Present and Future
1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar per week
Boyle, K. (2019) ‘Chapter 1: #MeToo, Weinstein and Feminism’, in #MeToo, Weinstein and Feminism
. 1st ed. 2019. Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland AG, pp. 1–20. Available at: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/universityofessex-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5971769
Mulvey, L. (1975) ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, Screen
, 16(3), pp. 6–18. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/screen/16.3.6
LaPlace, M. (1987) ‘Producing and Consuming the Woman’s Film: Discursive Struggle in Now, Voyager’’, in Home is where the heart is: studies in melodrama and the woman’s film. London: BFI.
Thornham, S. (1999) ‘Women’s Cinema as Counter Cinema’, in Feminist film theory: a reader
. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www-jstor-org.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctvxcrtm8
Cook, P. (2016) ‘Approaching the Work of Dorothy Arzner’, in C. Penley (ed.) Feminism and Film Theory
. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd, pp. 46–56. Available at: https://app.kortext.com/Shibboleth.sso/Login?entityID=https://idp0.essex.ac.uk/shibboleth&target=https://app.kortext.com/borrow/32488
‘Daughters of the Dust’ (1991).
Beyoncé (no date) ‘Lemonade (Full Visual Album).’
hooks, bell (2015) ‘The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators’, in Reel to Real
. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd. Available at: https://www-taylorfrancis-com.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/books/9780203440919
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Essay 1 (1,500 words)
||Essay 2 (3,000 words)
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sarah Smyth, email: email@example.com.
Dr Sarah Smyth
LiFTS General Office - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Andrew Birtwistle
Canterbury Christ Church University
Reader in Film and Sound
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.
Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can
be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements,
industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist
of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules.
The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.