81585 - Studies of Gender in the Media (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Cinema, Television and Multimedia Production (cod. 0966)

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:

- acquire the basic historical notions to understand the development of gender studies in contemporary humanities.

- be updated on the theoretical notions of gender studies and how these have been applied in the field of media studies.

- be able to contextualize this knowledge in the context of studies that have developed the gender studies by defining boundaries, skills, and research tools (Feminist Film Theory, Queer Studies, Man's Studies).

They will also have developed the methodological tools for:

- contextualizing the main theoretical-methodological notions in the fields of cinema, television and audiovisual media culture.

- analyzing audiovisual products in the light of theoretical problems raised by gender studies.

Course contents

This course aims to introduce students to the main concepts of gender studies, with special reference to media studies.

This course is divided into two parts.

The first part will give an historical outline to reconstruct the main lines of thought that constitute gender studies. More specifically, the following topics will be dealt with:

- the main contributions of the Feminist Film Theory and relations with gender studies;

- gender studies and Queer Theory I: Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick;

- gender studies and Queer Theory II: Leo Bersani, Lee Edelman;

- the contribution of audience studies to gender studies;

- masculinity studies.

In the second part of the course theoretical and methodological issues related to transgender politics and identities in the media will be addressed. The relationship between transgender studies, queer studies and feminist theory will be considered, as well as some models of representation of transgender identities in contemporary media. In particular, an in-depth study will be carried out on the representations of transgender identities by some Italian vloggers on YouTube.


Please note: students are required to find the books and articles included in the exam bibliography well in advance. Not all volumes and essays are easy to find. Accordingly, students are invited to move forward to get the bibliographic materials which, if not available at the Department of Arts library, they shall be taken from other libraries (through OPAC SBN: http: //opac.sbn .it / opacsbn / opac / iccu / base.jsp) or book-shops (also online) or on the web.


a) Arnaldo Spallacci, Maschi, il Mulino, Bologna 2012.

b) Stuart Cunningham, David Craig, Social Media Entertainment. Quando Hollywood incontra la Silicon Valley, minimum fax, Roma 2021 (except chapters 3 and 6).

c) Laura Mulvey, Cinema e piacere visivo, ed. Veronica Pravadelli, Bulzoni Editore, Roma 2013. Only pp. 13-54.

d) The following scientific articles/book chapters:

- D. A. Miller, Anal Rope, in "Representations", Vol. 32 Autumn, 1990, pp. 114-133. This article can be consulted/downloaded:


(If the text is not available online, write to the teacher).

- Lee Edelman, No future, in Elisa A. G. Arfini, Cristian Lo Iacono (a cura di), Canone inverso. Antologia di teoria queer, ETS, Pisa, 2012, pp. 245-269.

- Ian Huffer, ''I wanted to be Rocky, but I also wanted to be his wife!”: Heterosexuality and the (Re)construction of Gender in Female Film Audiences Consumption of Sylvester Stallone, “Particip@tions”, Volume 4, Issue 2 (november 2007). This article can be consulted/downloaded: “Participations. Journal of Audience & Reception Studies”: http://www.participations.org/index.htm)

- Carrie Lynn D. Reinhard, Kevin Miller, Man watching Sex and the City, My Little Pony and Oklahoma: The Interpretation of Gender Appropriateness in the Reception of Cross-gendered Media Products, "Particip@tion", Volume 12, Issue 1, may 2015.  This article can be consulted/downloaded on the site of "Particip@tion".

- Laura Horak, Trans on YouTube: Intimacy, Visibility, Temporality, “Transgender Studies Quarterly, 1 (4), 2014, pp. 572-585. This article can be consulted/downloaded on the author's personal profile on the academia.edu website: https://www.academia.edu/14288091/Trans_on_YouTube_Intimacy_Visibility_Temporality

- Tobias Raun, Capitalizing intimacy: New subcultural forms of microcelebrity strategies and affective labour on TouTube, "The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies",
2018, Vol. 24(1) 99–113. (If the text is not available online, write to the teacher).

- Ralph J. Poole, Towards a Queer Futurity: New Trans Television, “European Journal of American Studies”, Summer 2017. This article can be consulted/downloaded here: https://journals.openedition.org/ejas/12093

e) Non-attending students, in addition to materials set out in a), b), c), d), are required to study:

Raewyn Connell, Questioni di genere, Seconda edizione, Il Mulino, Bologna 2011.


Filmography/Videography is an integral part of the course. All students, attending and non-attending, are required to watch and know in detail the films included in it, collecting information about them, both via the web and through autonomous bibliographic consultation. The films will all available at the Department of Arts video-library via Barberia 4.

Filmography for the general part:

Rope (Nodo alla gola, Hitchcock, 1948)

Psycho (Psyco, Hitchcock, 1960)

The Birds (Gli uccelli, Hitchcock, 1963)

Le fate ignoranti (Özpetek, 2001)

Chiamami col tuo nome (Guadagnino, 2017)

Videography for the monographic part:

All students have to watch and prepare to comment during the oral exam the following videos uploaded on YouTube-Italy:

vlogger transgender FtM:

4 videos of your choice from the channel : https://www.youtube.com/c/RichardThunder/videos

4 videos of your choice from the channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDuckFaith/videos

4 videos of your choice from the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/LeonardoSantuari/featured

Vlogger transgender MtF:

4 videos of your choice from the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/IAmJess/videos

4 videos of your choice from the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AbiCocca/videos

4 videos of your choice from the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/Eloisavids/videos

If some of the channels mentioned are, for various reasons, no longer accessible, students must independently search for other videos on YouTube - Italy related to the same transgender issues, in the same number as those indicated.

Teaching methods

Due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, teaching will be carried out in a traditional didactic manner:

this means the teacher will always be present in the classroom designated for teaching, students will alternate in attendance according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information about the shift and how to access the lesson in attendance will be provided later). It will always be possible to connect remotely and follow live streaming of the lessons in the classroom via TEAMS platform.

We recommend students who intend to actively participate in the course to participate (in presence or remotely) in the first lesson where the program and teaching methods will be explained.


WARNING: Given the fluidity of the emergency situation we are experiencing and since this program will be published in July 2021, it is possible that the teaching methods will change in the coming months. In this case, timely communication will be given through an update of this program, as well as through appropriate notices published on the usual institutional channels, namely: notices published on the teacher's page (https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/claudio.bisoni2/) and/or on the website of the CITEM  (https://corsi.unibo.it/magistrale/Cinema) which all students are invited to consult periodically.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists of writing an essay on a subject to be agreed, also via e-mail, with Prof. Bisoni, and of an interview. This essay, in the range of 12 to 16 sheets (1 essay = 2000 characters), should be sent by email 7 days before the exam date. WARNING: essays without bibliography/webography and no notes on the sources consulted will be assessed as negative automatically.

Please comply with the editorial rules indicated at the following link:



Both the questioning and the written essay aims to verify that students have achieved the following learning outcomes:

- detailed knowledge of the main methodological aspects and key terms of gender studies.

- detailed knowledge of the evolution of gender studies over the last forty years in relation to feminist theories, queer studies, transgenter studies, and masculinity studies.

- personal re-elaboration capabilities of the theoretical notions and ability to apply historical and methodological notions to specific study cases (such as movies in filmography and, for attending students, also discussed in lessons).

- ability to expose in detail the contents of the essays in the recommended bibliography.


It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students that in the essay and during the interview demonstrate to have achieved an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, the originality of the reflection as well as the familiarity with the semiotic tolls.

It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, not articulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of the discipline. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the discipline. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability.

Teaching tools

Students shall have an adequate knowledge of English, enabling them to understand and study the essays in the exam bibliography.

Office hours

See the website of Claudio Bisoni


Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.