Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice (e.g. cancellation of on-site teaching and conversion to online exams). Register for courses/exams via u:space, find out about the current status on u:find and on the moodle learning platform.

Further information about on-site teaching and access tests can be found at https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

Warning! The directory is not yet complete and will be amended until the beginning of the term.

124266 KO Critical Media Analysis (2020W)

Are superheroes democratizing masculinity practices? Superhero narratives and doing gender

6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 30 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Please check the MOODLE message board regularly for updates, etc.
Our class takes place via BigBlueButton.
Please check the MOODLE message board regularly for updates, etc.
Our class takes place via BigBlueButton.
Your attendance in the first session is MANDATORY!

Please make sure that the device(laptop, tablet, smartphone) you are using in order to participate has a working microphone and camera.

If class is in session and you are not able to log onto BigBlueButton please DO NOT PANIC.

First try to re-access the platform.

If this does not change anything please contact me via email (ranthild.salzer@univie.ac.at) and I will try to help.

Please take these steps so that I can make sure your absence from our BBB session is not counted as an absence.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Vienna this class is now taught in digital form.
From the first session onwards classes are taught via BigBlueButton. Please regularly check U:SPACE and MOODLE for further Updates.

Tuesday 06.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 13.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 20.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 27.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 03.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 10.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 17.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 24.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 01.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 15.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 12.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 19.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 26.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This CMA class puts focus on masculinity practices they way they appear in superhero narratives. Its object of study are both superhero comics and their adaptations to the movie screen. Through the lens of gender, masculinity and queer studies these texts are discussed and investigated, asking the question; do superhero narratives democratize masculinity practices? Do they uphold old patriarchal modes of masculinity or do they subvert ideas and images about ‘doing’ masculinity?
Masculinity as a gender practice is best understood as ‘a vague set of ideas, demands, stories and images about being a man’. Sociologist Raewyn Connell clarifies that “no masculinity arises except in a system of gender relations”(Connell, 1995). She identifies a hierarchy of masculinities: from its hegemonic version to its complicit, subordinate and marginalized varieties. Straight, white men usually occupy the hegemonic position whereas gay men have to content themselves with the subordinate and men of color with the marginalized position.
How do superhero narratives fit into these hierarchies? Given the overwhelming number of white male superheroes when compared to superheroes of color, or the small number of LGBTQ superheroes, it appears safe to identify this particular narrative genre as old-fashioned and sometimes even downright masculinist. But to stop at this assumption is to deny the changes and the progress this genre has made since its inception in the late 1930s. The aim of this CMA course is to take inventory of the genre as it currently presents itself to diverse audiences. This will be done by first looking at very early comics stories introducing what are now famous Marvel Comics superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther and the Falcon. Then follows a thorough look at recent movie adaptations introducing and featuring the same characters.

Assessment and permitted materials

Students will be required to 'read' primary materials with consists of both comics and films. There will also be a list of secondary sources, provided via MOODLE.
They will be asked to hold short presentations in class, hand in written assignments and take a final written test. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this will be done either via digital means or 'offline'. More information will follow shortly.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The final mark will be based on the results of the final written test, the written assignments and the in-class presentation as well as the in-class participation of the students.The final written test will be based on the course sessions and the required reading, consisting of multiple choice/short questions and essay questions to choose from.

The Final Mark is put together from:
Attendance & In-Class participation -15%
Written Assignments - 20%
In-Class Presentation - 20%
Final Written Exam - 45%

Examination topics

Reading list

Comics List:
Tales of Suspense #39: “Iron Man is born!”(Stan Lee&Gene Colan, 1963)
Tales of Suspense #59: “Captain America!”(Stan Lee&Jack Kirby, 1964)
Captain America #117: “The Coming of the Falcon!”(Stan Lee&Gene Colan, 1969)
Fantastic Four #52: “The Black Panther!”(Stan Lee&Jack Kirby, 1966)
Movie List:
Iron Man (Jon Favreau, 2008)
Captain America:The Winter Soldier (Anthony&Joe Russo, 2012)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612, BEd 046/407
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.5-426, BA07.3; BEd 08a.2, BEd 08b.1
Lehrinhalt: 12-4260

Last modified: Mo 05.10.2020 10:09