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This course examines popular cultural contexts, asking what it means to be a man in contemporary societies. We focus on the manufacture and marketing of masculinity in advertising, fashion, TV/film, theater, popular music, and the shifting contours of masculinity in everyday life, asking: how does political economy change the ideal shape, appearance, and performance of men? How have products – ranging from beer to deodorant to cigarettes — had their use value articulated in gendered ways? Why must masculinity be the purview of “males” at all; how can we change discourses to better include performances of female masculinities, butch-identified women, and trans* men? We will pay particular attention to racialized, queer, and subaltern masculinities. Some of our case studies include: the short half-life of the boy band in the US and in Asia (e.g., J/K-Pop), hip hop masculinities at home and abroad, and the curious blend of chastity and homoeroticism that constitutes masculinity in the contemporary vampire genre. Through these and other examples, we learn to recognize masculinity as a performance shaped by the political economy of a given culture.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
masculinity journal, mid-term essay, visual analyses of pop culture artifact, choice of final essay or 12 page final paper
a short statement of interest will be solicited
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course examines the construction of masculinity as it relates to intersecting identities such as race, sexuality, class, and global political economic considerations. Key to understanding masculinity are questions about the diversity of experiences of masculinity, cultural variations of gender norms, privilege, agency, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and interlocking systems of oppression.