75953 - Gender Studies (1)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

The course aim at orienting students within that field of studies known as Gender Studies by selecting the most relevant debates for communication studies and their possible professional ends. 

Course contents

Out of the vast interdisciplinary field of gender studies, during the first two weeks the course’s aim will be to discuss - in a semiotic perspective - some of the most relevant theoretical positions and heuristic categories that in the last thirty years have transformed and revised the very concept of gender in its links with others variables, such as sex and sexuality, the body, subjectivity and identity, “race”, color and ethnicity.

In particular, during the first week of the course, some of the most relevant feminist positions that have debated the dichotomy gender/sex, developing a theory of “intersectionality”, will be examined in depth.

During the second week, the main concepts and tools for the analysis of gender representations will be discussed, in order to define a semiotic methodology within which the categories of enunciation, body and identity are central.

After this introductory part, from the third week onward the course will concentrate on one of the most relevant topic of the contemporary debate on gender, that is on images of gender/gendered images, and on the gender of images, in order to investigate both the media representation of female bodies and the ones produced by artists and authors that try to inscribe in their work a gender-sensitive perspective.

Different examples and case studies will be provided and illustrated, with a particular attention to the subversion of gender stereotypes and the transformation of gendered identities and their media representation: from television to advertisement and social media, up to artistic works and performances.


Mandatory texts for attending students (both in presence and on line attendance):

Capecchi, S., La comunicazione di genere. Prospettive teoriche e buone pratiche, Carocci, Roma, 2018.

Demaria, C., Teorie di genere. Femminismi e semiotica, Bompiani, Milano, 2019 (l’introduzione; i capitoli 1, 4 e 5, l’Appendice).

Marchetti, S; Mascat, J.M.H; Perilli, V. (a cura di) (2012), Femministe a parole. Grovigli da districare, Ediesse, Roma, 2012 (le voci: “Differenza. E le sue aporie”; “Sesso/genere”. Le trappole della naturalizzazione”; “Femminismo postcoloniale”; “Intersezionalità”; “Neo-orientalismo”; “Bianchezza. Il colore del privilegio”).

The students that will not attend the course will have to add to the list of mandatory texts:

Gribaldo, A. e Zapperi, G., Lo schermo del potere. Femminismo e regime della visibilità, Ombre corte, Verona, 2012.

Recommended texts

Gribaldo, A. e Zapperi, G., Lo schermo del potere. Femminismo e regime della visibilità, Ombre corte, Verona, 2012.

Demaria, C., Sassatelli R. (a cura di), “Visioni del femminile”, numero monografico di Studi culturali, vol. 3, 2015.

Research material (to be used for individual or group presentations)

Butler, J., Corpi che contano, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1997.

Butler, J., La disfatta del genere, Meltemi, Roma, 2006.

Mohanty, C.T, Femminismo senza frontiere. Teoria, differenze, conflitti, Ombre corte, Verona, 2012.

Doane, M. A., Donne fatali. Cinema, femminismo, psicoanalisi, Pratiche, Parma, 1995.

Timeto, F. (a cura di), Culture della differenza. Femminismo, visualità e studi postcoloniali, Torino-Novara, UTET, 2008.

Further reading materials will be given during the course.

Teaching methods

The course will be structured according to an innovative method of teaching that foresees an active participation of the attending students.

The course’s contents will be assimilated in a highly interactive exchange through, also, the composition of dedicated working groups on specific topics and case-studies. The outcomes of the work conducted by the groups will be discussed in scheduled collective presentations.

Course attendance is highly recommended.

Assessment methods


The final test consists in the writing of paper whose topic has to be discussed with the lecturer, whose evaluation will be discussed the day of the exam.

The topic of the paper will have to be linked to one of the course main topics, with an introductory theoretical part and a case-study to investigate, such as a media text (advertisements, fashion films and images, cinema and TV series, works of literary fiction)

The aim of the final paper is hence directed to assess both the basic knowledge on gender studies discussed during the first part of the course, and the student's competence to analyze gender representation, following the work done in the second part of the course. The capacity to build a consistent argument and to use in a proper and effective way the acquired analytical tool and a critical gender perspective will be crucial elements for the final evaluation.

The written paper has to be of 20.000 characters (10 pages of 2000 characters for page) and must be handed in at least 10 days before the date of the exam.

Teaching tools


The course will take advantage of all the software and multi-media tools available in the Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies' classroom.

Office hours

See the website of Cristina Demaria