Universität Wien FIND

124267 AR Cultural/Media Studies 1/2 (AR) (2021W)

In_Visibility that Matters: Cultural Representations of Trans-and Intersex Identities

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

New from 22 Nov: All classes will be online until further notice.

Due to the ongoing public health situation, this course will be taught online. All scholarly articles as well as some excerpts from literary texts will be made available on Moodle. The three assignments are to be turned in as .doc files or .pdf files via email (sylvia.mieszkowski@univie.ac.at), which means there is no need for you to come to the Department while it may not be safe to do so.

Dienstag 05.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 12.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 19.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 09.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 16.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 23.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 30.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 07.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 14.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 11.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 18.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Dienstag 25.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

While visibility, which goes hand in hand with intelligibility and 'being heard', is an important condition for subjectification and political agency, it neither guarantees that empowerment will follow, nor is it without its dangers. As you digital natives know better than any generation before you, 'being visible' can bleed into 'being exposed' very quickly, and especially for those of us who do not conform to the rules dictated by the heteronormative script, 'being exposed' all too often leads to threats to life, limb and mental well-being. This queer studies course focuses specifically on how popular culture and contemporary literature represent the lives and loves of trans* and intersex people, and it sets out to explore the ambivalences produced by complementary needs of in_visibility and in_visibilisation. The narratives we'll be analysing (taken from TV, advertising, popular culture, film and literature), provide the kind of cultural visibility that was lacking for much too long. In an attempt to counter this lack, this course offers a very broad array of objects of analysis, aiming to assemble many different voices, many different images and many different narratives. Our task will be to read them critically: with a view to the power structures that pervade them, the ideologies that prop them up or are undermined by them. On the one hand, we will be discussing the set texts and films (4 novels, 4 films, 1 TV series); on the other, I would like you to contribute to the corpus by finding and sharing a short (about 5 min) queer clip online (from an ad, a film, a series etc.), that represents a trans* or intersex person. Obviously, such a host of material has two consequences: First, this will be a time-consuming course; please factor this in carefully before you decide to sign up. Second, we most probably won't be able to discuss any of the objects of analysis exhaustively. You are free (although nor obliged) to choose any of the set texts/films/series as the object of analysis for the three written assignments.

Gender and desire are products of how we think, speak and write about them, and of the images we produce to represent them on screen, so we need to understand how these processes of production work. Learning how to do a queer reading is one of the aims of this course. This AR also pursues several others: To explore and discuss about what lies beyond the traditional, binary sex-gender system and thereby throw into relief the cost of the fiction that there are only two, utterly discrete, sexes and that, therefore, there can also only be two genders. The basis for discussion in this course is that not only gender but also sex and desire are culturally constructed, relational and intersectional categories of identity. If you have not come across this idea yet, and were under the impression that only gender was constructed whereas sex referred to something 'natural', please go and read the introduction and opening chapter of Judith Butler's Gender Trouble (1990) in preparation for this course, as we will spend but little time on elucidating these basic ideas.

The 'specialist'-task (which every student in class undertakes once) is supposed to provide the basis and impulses for the group work (in which every student in class participates on a weekly basis). You'll be expected to provide a powerpoint presentation as an accompaniment to your specialist task.

One week before the lesson in which it is your turn to act as specialist, I will meet with you online, discuss your ideas with you, make additional suggestions and help you structure your plan. Immediately after your specialist lesson, you, next week's specialist and I will get together for an immediate reflexion (triple feedback loop), which takes into consideration your own estimate of your performance, peer-feedback and feedback from me.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Regular attendance; regular preparation of assigned reading material; active participation in class discussion; picking queer clip (plus screen shot on ppt); specialist task (plus ppt); active participation; three written assignments (A1: 1000 words; A2: 1000 words; A3: 1500 words).

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

No more than two lessons may be missed without a medical reason certified by a doctor's note. If such a document is produced, a third lesson may be missed but is to be compensated for at the teacher's discretion. If no such document is produced or if more than three lessons are missed, this results in failing the course.

Active participation: 15%
Queer Clip: 5%
Specialist task: 30%
Assignment 1 (1000 words): 15%
Assignment 2 (1000 words): 15%
Assignment 3 (1500 word): 20%

Students must attain at least 60% to pass this course.

Marks in %:
1 (very good): 90-100%
2 (good): 81-89%
3 (satisfactory): 71-80%
4 (pass): 60-70%
5 (fail): 0-59%


There will be no written exam.


The four set novels have been ordered for you at Facultas (book shop on Campus). Please drop by to collect them or ask whether they can be delivered to your home address. We are lucky to have a bookshop. If you want it to survive, please consider buying your set texts there:

Book to buy:

- Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness [ISBN: ? 978-0441478125]
- Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (2002) [ISBN: 9780312991739]
- Abigail Tartellin, Golden Boy (2013) [ISBN: 9781780024596]
- E.K. Johnston, That Inevitable Victorian Thing [ISBN: 9780735231597]

Films/series to watch:

- Jennie Livingston, Paris is Burning (1990)
- Duncan Tucker, Transamerica (2005)
- Lucía Puenzo, XXY (2007)
- Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl (2015)
- Jill/Joey Soloway, Transparent (2014-2019)

Texts on Moodle:

All scholarly articles will be made available to you on Moodle.

Background reading (not compulsory):

- Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990 or any later edition)
- Jack Halberstam, Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability (2018)
- Viola Amato, "Introduction" in Intersex Narratives (2016) [on Moodle]
- Davis et al, "Deconstructing Intersex and Trans Medicalization Practices" (2016) [on Moodle]

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Studium: MA 844; MA 844(2); UF MA 046/507
Code/Modul: MA6, MA7; MA 844(2) 3.1, 3.2; UF MA 4A
Lehrinhalt: 12-4262

Letzte Änderung: Di 01.03.2022 10:48