Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Popular Culture

The course combines key concepts and theoretical frameworks in cultural studies, Critical Race Theory, gender studies, and Post-/Colonial Studies. Students will get to know the canonical texts of Cultural Studies from the USA and learn to evaluate, compare and apply their theoretical scope.

Through this course, students will apply a critical lens to representations of gender, race, and sexuality in popular culture by working through foundational theories in those fields, learning to articulate their arguments as well as apply them to their contemporary world/-s. They will discuss their learned (theoretical) knowledge in class-room discussions around current cultural and political issues, challenging traditional concepts and stereotypes of gender, race, sexuality and coloniality.

This course will allow students the opportunity to:

  • Learn how gender and race are created as social constructs within “culture”

  • Learn how both play out in the USA and Germany/Europe as well as elsewhere

  • Understand how traditional and recent discourses of gender, race, and sexuality inform media representations

  • Understand and use basic terms and concepts central to this field

  • Develop the ability to critically evaluate representations of gender, race, and sexuality in different media forms and in different contexts

  • Engage with and Learn about the different narratives of Cultural Theory in the USA and EU

Methods of Instruction:

This course is structured in a format that combines discussions, group work, presentations, and film screenings. Students will be encouraged to challenge assumptions about race, gender, and sexuality as they are represented in popular culture, society and politics writ-large. Through critical readings of key texts and authors, class discussions and debates, as well as students’ written summaries, the students will enhance their ability to analyze discussions around popular discourse and popular culture.