In Sight & Sound’s list of 100 greatest films, why are only two directed by women? Following the revelations of the Weinstein scandal, what do we do with the art of monstrous artists? Contemporary social movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp are now asking challenging questions of how we think about authors, canons, and gendered power in creative industries. In the wake of these debates, this module seeks to engage you with intersectional feminist perspectives on urgent issues in theories and practices of authorship in film and literature across a range of contexts. We will think about women as writers, filmmakers, and labourers, discuss issues of how gender is represented on page and screen(s), and finally think about the multiple creative roles in film, television, publishing and the academy that complicate the idea of the author/auteur(e).
Building from leading theories of authorship and auteurism from the 20th Century, you will visit a variety of feminist ideas that challenge the figure of the author and consider its volatile relationship with gender on theoretical, aesthetic, and material levels. Over the course of the term, we will think about questions such as: How does authorship produce social and material power, and how is this linked to gender, patriarchy and race? How do experiences of gender affect authorship? How have artists, writers and filmmakers tried to create ‘feminine’, anti-patriarchal and anti-racist texts? How does gender intersect with other axes of power, including race, class, and sexuality? Can authorship be used as a political strategy? What are our ethical responsibilities and accountabilities when we discuss authorship? The module will encourage students to explore these ideas across a broad comparative range of cultures and contexts, and to think about literature and film alongside other media.
|A||Semester 2 2023-24|
The aim of the module is to equip you with an advanced critical understanding of how gendered and raced power operates within film and literature. The module will encourage you to situate theoretical and material understandings of authorship within a range of historical contexts, and to reflect on the urgency of these issues in the contemporary moment, appreciating the porous exchange between art, experience, and politics. It will, finally, create space to consider our own academic practice and the nature of our responsibilities in approaching filmic, literary and critical texts.
On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with theoretical and practical issues of authorship in film, literature and their intersections, including some understanding of how these questions are situated within historical artistic movements
Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with films and other screen media as a collaborative process and of the influences of multiple artistic and industrial roles on the creation of filmic texts
Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields dealing with the ways in which questions of authorship and representation are impacted by gender and race, and apply appropriate theoretical frameworks to discuss these issues at an advanced level
Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
4,500 word essay
You will hand in an essay of 1,400-1,600 words in Week 6 of the Autumn term for the Postgraduate Life in Practice module. The main purpose of the essay is to ensure that the department can identify those students who may require additional assistance with academic writing skills. Material from this essay may be re-visited in either one of the January essays or the dissertation. It is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. The title topic of the essay, like the title topic of all assessed work for the degree, is left open to the individual student.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
4,500 word essay
You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your module tutor, the MA Convenor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours
Texts studied on this module may include
François Truffaut (dir.), The 400 Blows
Alexandre Astruc, ‘The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Caméra-Stylo’
Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’
Hélène Cixous, The Newly Born Woman
Marie Darrieussecq, Truismes
Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen (dirs.), Riddles of the Sphinx
Julie Dash (dir.), Illusions
bell hooks, ‘The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators’
Black Audio Film Collective, Twilight City
The London Women’s Film Group, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair
Ousmane Sembene, ‘The Promised Land’ in Voltaïque
Ousmane Sembene (dir.), La Noire de…
Chan-wook Park (dir.), The Handmaiden