City College of San Francisco
Course Outline of Record
Course Status: Active
A. Approval Date December 2018
B. Effective Semester Fall 2019
C. Department Women's and Gender Studies
D. Course Number WGST 10
E. Course Title Women and Film
F. Course Outline Originator Denah Johnston
F. Co-Contributor(s):
Moira Sullivan
Margaret Harrison
G. Department Chairperson Maggie Harrison
H. Dean Jill Yee
A. Hours
Lecture: 52.5
Homework: 105
Total Hours: 157.5
B. Units 3
C. Prerequisite None
    Corequisite None
    Pre/Corequisite None
    Advisory ENGL 88 or ESL 188 or readiness for college-level English
    Advisory Pre/Corequisite None
D. Course Justification This feminist film studies survey course analyzes women's roles in films through feminist theory, highlighting intersectionality, a major principle of the Women's and Gender Studies Department. It is designed to meet the AA degree requirements for Area E, Humanities, and H2, Women's Studies. It partially fulfills the humanities requirement for the major in Women's Studies and the AA-T in Social Justice: Gender Studies; beginning Fall 2019, it will fulfill an elective option for Cinema's Film Studies AA.
E. Field Trips No
F. Method of Grading Letter or Pass/No Pass
G. Repeatability Course is not repeatable
Feminist film studies. Uses an intersectional lens to analyze women's roles in cinema as filmmakers and actors from its origins to the present.
Upon completion of this course, a student will be able to:
  1. Apply fundamental terms from foundational feminist film studies.
  2. Analyze female representation from the silent era to today.
  3. Assess film genres, focused on those with potential to challenge traditional gender roles, including comedy and melodrama.
  4. Interpret the work of significant independent, diverse, feminist filmmakers that challenges mainstream representations of women.
  1. Foundations of Feminist Film Studies
    1. Application of feminist film theories that analyze the underlying structures in the representation of women in film, such as
      1. Elizabeth Cowie's "Woman As Sign”
      2. Laura Mulvey's “Psychoanalysis as a political weapon,” and "The Male Gaze"
      3. Claire Johnson's “Women’s Cinema As Counter-Cinema”
      4. E. Ann Kaplan's "The Imperialist Gaze"
    2. Study of representation of women in classical Hollywood narrative 
      1. Film style
      2. Textual analysis
    3. Intersectionality of class and race in post-structural feminist film theory
  2. Early production and representation of women in film
    1. Working conditions of women in cinema before 1925
      1. East Coast
      2. Hollywood
      3. International
    2. Early directors, such as
      1. Alice Guy Blaché
      2. Lillian Gish
      3. Mary Pickford
      4. Lois Weber
    3. Women of color in early cinema, such as
      1. Eslanda Robeson
      2. Jennie Louis Van Der Zee 
      3. Zora Neale Hurston
    4. Classical Hollywood auteurs (1930-1950)
      1. Dorothy Arzner's Classical Hollywood narrative work and technical innovation
      2. Independent, B-films and television work of Ida Lupino
  3. Women in film genres as makers and subjects
    1. Horror
    2. Film Noir
    3. Melodrama, “women’s weepies
    4. "Chick Flicks"
    5. Comedy
    6. Documentary
    7.  Presence/absence in Sci-Fi and Fantasy film
  4. Women in the avant-garde, such as
    1. Germaine Dulac
    2. Maya Deren
    3. Barbara Hammer
    4. Su Friedrich
    5. Cheryl Dunye
    6. Yvonne Rainer
  5. Auteur directors and their films, such as
    1.  Chantal Akerman's
      1. Jeanne Dielman 23 Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles Belgium
      2. News From Home
      3. No Home Movie
    2. Margarethe von Trotta's
      1. Marianne & Juliane
      2. The Lost Honor of Katherina Bloom
      3. Sheer Madness
    3. Agnès Varda's
      1. Cléo from 5 to 7
      2. The Gleaners and I
      3. Vagabond
      4. Faces Places
    4. Sally Potter's
      1. Orlando
      2. Ginger & Rosa
    5. Nadine Labaki's Capernaum
    6. Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust
    7. Samira Makmalhbaf­­'s Five in the Afternoon
    8. Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don’t Cry
    9. Jane Campion's
      1. The Piano
      2. Top of the Lake
    10. Deepa Mehta's Elements trilogy: Fire, Earth, Water 
    11. Lizzie Borden's
      1. Born in Flames
      2. Working Girls
    12. Kathryn Bigelow's
      1. Zero Dark Thirty
      2. Blue Steel
    13. Leslie Harris' Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.
    14. Vera Chytilova's
      1. Daisies
      2. Fruits of Paradise
    15.  Lynne Ramsay's 
      1. Morvern Callar
      2. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  6. Women's writing about film
    1. Academic
    2. Film criticism, such as
      1. bell hooks' "virgin/vamp" dichotomy
      2. Carol Clover's "Final Girl"
      3. B. Ruby Rich's new queer cinema
      4. Patricia White's investigation of difference
    3. Essay
  7. Funding, distribution and support for women in film
    1. International women’s film festivals
    2. Women in Film and Television (WIFT)
    3. Women Make Movies (WMM)
    4. Sundance Institute
  1. Assignments
    1. In-class activity: Lecture, screening and instructor-led discussion of films such as Boys Don't Cry, The Bigamist, and Zero Dark Thirty
    2. In-class activity: Written responses assessing readings, screenings and in-class discussions on topics such as early women filmmakers, representation of women in cinema, feminist film criticism, etc.
    3. In-class activity: Present and discuss summary of research projects
    4. Out-of-class assignment: Reading/viewing of materials related to feminist film theory, films, and filmmakers featured
    5. Out-of-class assignment: Weekly assigned readings from various sources relevant to women's making, women's representation, and the history and criticism of film.
    6. Out-of-class assignment: Critical papers, including final paper, on topics such as historical or contemporary representations of women.
  2. Evaluation
    1. Participation: Participation in class discussions and small groups on topics such as analyzing female representation and demonstrating knowledge of film genres.
    2. Exams/Quizzes/Tests: Short essay and multiple choice exam covering fundamental terms from feminist film studies, analyzing female representation, and interpreting the work of diverse feminist filmmakers.
    3. Exams/Quizzes/Tests: Short quizzes on key concepts, vocabulary and theories covered in the course.
    4. Research project: One or two 4-6 page papers using course materials to analyze contemporary representations of women, including topics such as: Analyze the depictions of female characters in contemporary melodrama and/or film noir; Trace the progression of themes in the contemporary work of an independent feminist filmmaker such as Deepa Mehta or Agnes Varda; Critique the portrayal of women in the films of prominent contemporary filmmakers.
    5. Final Assessment: Critical response paper on topics such as analytical responses to films, connecting their responses to the readings and fundamental feminist theory, demonstrating knowledge of film genres challenging gender roles, and interpreting the work of filmmakers.
  3. Representative Textbooks and Other Instructional Materials
    1. hooks, bell. 2008. Reel to Real, Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies. Routledge, New York City.
    2. hooks, bell. 2000. Feminism is For Everybody Passionate Politics. South End Press, Cambridge.
    3. Redding, Judith and Brownsworth, Victoria. 1997. Film Fatales, Independent Women Directors. Seal Press.
    4. Rowe, Kathleen. 1995. The Unruly Woman, Gender and the Comic Genre. Texas Film and Media Studies.
    5. Kaplan, E. Ann. 2000. Feminism and Film. Oxford University Press.
    6. Marciniak, Katarzyna, Aniko Imre, and Aine O’Healy, eds.. 2008. Transnational Feminism in Film and Media. Palgrave Macmillan.
    7. Columpar, Corinn and Sophie Meyer, eds.. 2009. There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond. Wayne State University Press.
    8. Butler, Alison. 2002. Women’s Cinema: The Contested Screen. Wallflower Press.
    9. Meyer, Sophie. 2015. Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema. I.B.Tauris.
    10. McCabe, Janet. 2005. Feminist Film Studies: Writing the Woman into Cinema (Short Cuts). Wallflower Press.
    11. Ramanathan, Geetha. 2007. Feminist Auteurs Reading Women's Films. Wallflower Press.
    12. Princeton Classics. 2015. Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Clover, Carol J..
    13. Janisse, Kier-La . 2012. House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films. FAB Press.
    14. Hollinger. 2012. Feminist Film Studies. Routledge.
    15. White, Patricia. 1999. Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability: Theories of Representation and Difference. Indiana University Press.
    16. Kaplan, E. Ann. 1997. Looking for the Other: Feminism, Film and the Imperial Gaze. Routledge.
    17. Corrigan, Timothy. 2014. A Short Guide to Writing on Film. Pearson.
    18. White, Patricia. 2015. Women’s Cinema/World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms. Duke University Press.
    19. Julie Dash. 1992. Daughters of the Dust: The Making of an African American Woman's Film. The New Press.
    20. Library research resources such as EBSCOhost for academic or industry articles, ebooks, and media
    21. Website: Senses of Cinema
    22. Website: Agnes Film
    23. Website: Women and Hollywood
    24. Website: Women Make Movies
    25. Website: Women in Film
    26. Website: USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
CREDIT/DEGREE APPLICABLE (meets all standards of Title 5. Section 55002(a))