ISS335-Fall2014 Description

This course will examine the notions of national diversity in the United States using motion pictures analyze the representations of race and ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and disability. Film as become in the last 100 years a massive industry of entertainment. We will contend in this class that this form of “entertainment” is particularly suited to develop social scientific analysis since motion pictures are powerful conveyors of ideologies, constructors of stereotypes, and refractors of socially constructed realities. We will critically analyze and disprove the notion of “it is only a film”. This class is constructed on two levels. 1) A presentation of the theories, concepts, and data associated to social inequalities. More specifically, these concepts will be presented from a perspective that centers on the development of structures of inequality in the US society. 2) An introduction to the analysis on contemporary film as a reproducer of collective imaginaries with respect to the structures of social inequalities. While each section focuses in one particular ‘master status’ is important to observe that these statuses never occur on their own and there are always interconnected to other sets of inequalities.

Beyond the introduction to the course (01/06 to 01/22), this course is divided into five sections. The first deals with the uses of race and ethnicity on film (01/27 to 02/19), the second deals with class and social stratification (03/10 to 03/17), the third with gender (03/19 to 03/31), the fourth with sexuality (04/07 to 04/14), and the fifth with disabilities (04/16).