WGSS 311
Trans Film and Media Fall 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed AMST 364 / WGSS 311

Class Details

This course provides an introduction to contemporary trans culture and politics via the lens of film and other (mostly visual) media. We’ll focus mainly on media production in the U.S. since the early 1990s, as this moment is usually understood as inaugurating contemporary “transgender” politics; additionally, the 90s saw a profusion of diversity in popular representation generally. This class has two main priorities: first, to use visual media as a lens for surveying major developments in trans studies, politics, and representation over the last few decades; second, to develop a critical repertoire for thinking about our current conjuncture of “trans visibility” in particular. By tracking a longer history of both popular and alternative trans media production, this course will question the vanguardism and celebratory progress narratives associated with “trans tipping point” visibility conditions. Drawing from perspectives in WGSS, American studies, and ethnic studies, we will especially situate trans representation in relation to the institutionalization of minority difference under neoliberal capitalism. In line with scholarship, we’ll approach trans representation as interlocking with structures like race, heteropatriarchy, dis/ability, immigration, and nationality and empire.
The Class: Format: seminar; There will also be some lecturing.
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 2005
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Students will have ongoing short discussion post assignments, one midterm essay of 5-6 pages, and a final group media-making project with min. 6 pages of analytic writing to accompany their creative work.
Prerequisites: WGSS 101 or 202 would be helpful but are not required. Other background in WGSS or the humanities is also helpful.
Enrollment Preferences: Enrollment preference can go to WGSS majors and 3rd & 4th years. Statements of interest are welcome.
Materials/Lab Fee: For some proprietary media content, students will need subscriptions to popular streaming services (eg Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max). See WGSS chair about financial aid waivers and alternatives if this feels cost prohibitive.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST 364 Division II WGSS 311 Division II
DPE Notes: This course provides a survey of issues facing marginalized trans communities via the lens of visual media, with an emphasis on how structures of power shaping trans experience intersect with the politics of race, capital, disability, migration, and other axes of social difference.

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