Art H 226

Gender, Sexuality, and Visual Culture

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This course examines the circulation of gendered, raced, & sexualized images through the media and popular culture, with a particular focus on contemporary art. While touching on a wide range of topics, the course will (1) distinguish gender, sex, and sexuality in the context of the essentialism debates of the 1970s and the theories of performativity that emerged from them, (2) consider “the gaze” as a critical construct of feminist visual culture historically and today, and (3) examine a range of artistic interventions that work towards intersectional diversity and social justice. By the end of the semester you will have been introduced to different theoretical approaches and to how and why “theory” in feminist visual culture is produced and circulated — in other words, how “theories” can help change “practices.”

Some of the work that will be read, or viewed may be opposed to your expectations, to your tastes, and/or to societal norms. You will be confronted with material that may be considered disturbing, irreverent, disgusting, graphic, shocking, etc. We are also dealing with some difficult issues, such as violence and discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexuality, size, ability, etc. Continued enrolment in this class constitutes an agreement to view such materials, and to seek support if anything touches too close to home. You are always permitted to leave the classroom if you need to, for any reason. I only ask that you talk to me in office hours later so I can make sure you are OK and reassess the material if needed. Peer support resources are posted on eClass.