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The Deadly Species: Women and Violence in Film

ENGL 091.601
instructor(s):
T 6:30-9:10

Although women are generally regarded as passive and nurturing in dominant cultural myths, there exists an imaginary fascination with women as the source, cause, or location of violence that has a long, popular, and productive cinematic history. Beginning with the Hollywood sci-fi, cult class of the 1950s, "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," this course will be an exploration of how women have entered filmic representations as the perpetrators or loci of violence.
We will be examining these representations across a number of genres: the "thriller" ("Basic Instinct"); the road movie or "buddy film" ("Thelma and Louise" and "Mortal Thoughts"); the domestic melodrama ("The Last Seduction); the documentary ("Aileen Wuornos: The Making of a Serial Killer"). In addition to generic considerations (how these representations appear differently according to a set of codes that are peculiar to a given form), we will also be concerned with the way the representations are coded in particular ways in regard to class, race, sexuality, ethnicity, age, body types, etc.