SOC 240
Performing Masculinity in Global Popular Culture Fall 2017
Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed WGSS 240 / THEA 241 / SOC 240 / AMST 241 / LATS 241
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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. The course includes a field trip to a drag performance in Northampton.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1599
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: masculinity journal, mid-term essay, visual analyses of pop culture artifact, choice of final essay or 12 page final paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: in the event of over-enrollment, a short statement of interest will be solicited
Distributions: Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST, LATS, SOC or WGSS; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under THEA
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 240 Division II THEA 241 Division II SOC 240 Division II AMST 241 Division II LATS 241 Division II
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
FMST Related Courses
LATS Comparative Race + Ethnic Studies Electives

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