Sex and the Screen

Subject 106-243 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Standard, on campus.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1 hour lecture, a 1 hour tutorial and a 1.5 hour screening per week
Total Time Commitment: 8 hours.
Prerequisites: Usually fifty points of first year arts. Completion of either 106-101 or 107-132 is strongly recommended.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Fran Martin


Chris Healy

Subject Overview: How do representations of sex in screen media such as film, television and the Internet impact on our experience of our own gendered and sexual identities? How are ideas about love, romance, sex and gender, and social categories like masculinity and femininity; heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality represented in screen media? How have such representations transformed over time, and how have they been shaped by historical movements and contexts like film censorship, queer political activism, cultural globalization? By focusing on the ways in which screen representations both reflect and construct modern understandings of sex and gender, this subject approaches gender and sexuality as historically and culturally contingent rather than as ‘natural’ expressions of a private self. Drawing on theoretical formations in both cinema and cultural studies from Freud to Foucault and from feminist film theory to queer theory, this subject engages with a diverse range of screen media that may include examples from Hollywood cinema, the American underground and trash cinema, the New Queer Cinema, and contemporary television and Internet cultures. On completion of this subject students should be able to understand and explain the complex connections between gender and sexuality in contemporary culture and to analyse the representation of gendered and sexual identities and desires in selected screen texts.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should...
  • Understand some of the ways in which contemporary gendered and sexual identities have been represented in Western (and some selected non-Western) screen media as an aspect of cultural modernity;
  • Be able to understand and explain the complex connections between gender and sexuality in contemporary culture;
  • Be able to analyse the representation of gendered and sexual identities and desires in selected screen texts;
  • have an understanding of how gender and sexuality, especially as represented in screen media, relate to other facets of social identity such as race, generation, and nationality;
  • be familiar with some of the key approaches to gender and sexuality in contemporary film and cultural theory (including post-structuralist feminism, psychoanalytic approaches, Foucauldian approaches, and queer theory).
Assessment: LMS-based blogging assessment exercise (500 words; 10%); completed across the semester 1 essay (1500 words; 40%); due mid-semester 1 essay (2000 words; 50%); due at the end of semester Hurdle requirement of 80% attendance at tutorials. Students are advised to consult the following web address for details of assessment penalities which apply to this subject
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject should
  • acquire social, ethical, and cultural understanding of self and others through detailed analysis of contemporary culture in its various local, national and transnational contexts; the reception of new ideas and the contextualization of judgments; the adaptation of knowledge to new situations.
  • acquire critical analysis and synthesis through the study of competing theories of contemporary culture and their application to diverse examples; the engagement with and processing of different critical perspectives across the interdisciplinary field of cultural studies; the development of independent thought and arguments.
  • acquire effective written and oral communication through tutorial discussions and debates; the preparation and execution of written assessment exercises; exposure to and emulation of competing genres and protocols of critical writing.
  • acquire information management and information literacy through the practice of library and archival research; engagement with electronic databases.
  • acquire teamwork, flexibility, and tolerance through group discussions in tutorials; reception of new ideas and opinions; engaging and cooperating with other people from diverse backgrounds.
  • acquire time management and planning through managing and organizing workloads for recommended reading and assessment requirements

This subject is available to pre-2008 Bachelor of Arts students for credit to 2nd or 3rd year of the major in Cinema or Cultural Studies.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Cinema & Cultural Studies
Cinema Studies Major
Cinema and Cultural Studies
Cinema and Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies Major

Download PDF version.