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The Female Body in Contemporary Visual Culture

Semester and Year SP 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1858
Section 001
Instructor Elena Wang
Days R
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



In light of pressing popular debates over the valuing of female bodies and female beauty in social and political life, this course explores the dominant visual paradigms that shape female embodiment today. Taking the glamorous figure of the runway model as our point of departure, we will put into dialogue the material and representational dimensions of gendered bodies across fields of popular cultural production, considering the different kinds of labor entailed by the female body’s insistent commodification, and exploring its psychosocial costs. Critical and feminist literature will help us read recent films, ethnographies and journalistic accounts of female body work, while weekly current events presentations enrich our discussions. Texts include Iris Marion Young’s  On Female Body Experience ,   Linda McDowell’s  Capital Culture  (1997), and Ashley Mears’ groundbreaking study of the modeling industry,  Pricing Beauty  (2011).


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)