GI410      Half Unit
Screening the 21st Century: Cinema and Cultural Critique

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sadie Wearing, Pankhurst House.11.01C


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Gender, MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender (Sexuality) and MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be limited to 30 places.


Students need to have an awareness of and interest in contemporary cultural theory and film.

Course content

The aims of the course are to offer students the opportunity to critically explore 21st century international cinema as a site for the interrogation of contested contemporary social and political processes.  The course links cinematic representations to the preoccupations of cultural theory in relation to themes such as, colonial/postcolonial memory, neo liberalism and cultural dislocations, ethics and subjectivity, gendered migration and gendered violence, environmental degradation and protest, sexuality and representation. The course introduces students to a range of international film and will develop the critical tools for the analysis of both mainstream and marginal (or marginalised) cultural productions. It explores  a range of critical and theoretical writing on film considering questions such as cinema as oppositional practice,  transnational cinema, questions of representation, global spectatorship and 'witnessing' and the affective dimensions of cinema. Indicative films are:, Black Skin White Mask (dir. Isaac Julien), Waltz with Bashir (dir. Ari Folman), Cache (dir. Michael Haneke), Limbo (dir. Ben Sharrock), Parasite (dir. Bong Joon-Ho), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir.Celine Sciamma,) Dark Waters (dir. Todd Haynes) .


30 hours of seminars in the WT.

This course runs in Winter Term. It is taught in an interactive 3 hour class that includes lecuture and seminar elements.

There is a compulsory weekly film screening.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Essay (1500 words) including an element of film analysis in the WT.

Indicative reading

  • Downing, L. and Saxton, L. (2010) Film and Ethics: foreclosed encounters.
  • Alexandra Juhasz and Alisa Lebow (2015) eds. A Companion to Contemporary Documentary Film Oxford: Wiley Blackwell eds
  • Lorey Isabelle, (2015) State of Insecurity London, Verso
  • Stephen Rust, Salma Monani and Sean Cubitt eds (2013) Eco cinema Theory and Practice New York: Routledge
  • Pines, J. and Wilemen, P. (eds) (1989) Questions of Third Cinema.
  • Hamid, Naficy (ed) (1999) Home Exile Homeland: film, media and the politics of place
  • Shohat, E. and Stam, R. (2003) Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media.
  • Ezra, E. and Rowden, T. (eds) (2005) Transnational Cinema: the film reader.
  • Kaplan, A. (2005) Trauma Culture: the politics of terror and loss in media and literature.
  • Martin, M. (1995) Cinemas of the Black Diaspora: diversity, dependence and oppositionality.
  • Butler, J. (2009) Frames of War.
  • Imre, A., Marciniak, K. and O'Healy, A. (eds.) (2007) Transnational Feminist Encounters in Film and Media.
  • Lingzhen Wang (2021) Revisiting Women's Cinema: Feminism, Socialism and Mainstream Culture in Modern China


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2022/23: 27

Average class size 2022/23: 14

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills