Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2020

  • Film Genre: Our Others, Our Selves: Race, Gender, and Technologies of the Body in Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema

    108-001 | CCN: 22475

    Emily West

    4 Units

    Mw 10:30am-12pm, Location: Dwinelle 142

    Screening: W 2pm-4pm, Location: Dwinelle 142

    Science fiction is a seemingly de-politicized but highly political genre, historically rooted in Western colonial expansion and directly expressive of imperialist desire and anxiety. This course aims to illuminate the ways in which science fiction film constructs its Others through scenes of encounter that mobilize ideologies of race, class, and gender in complex and contradictory ways. Beginning with the Alien franchise in the late 1970s, this course examines racialized narratives of bodily disruption and infection, the question of raced and gendered human-ness in the postmodern period obsessed with simulacra and simulation, crises of white masculinity and the techno-body, transmutations of the figure of the family, narratives of laboring racialized bodies at the US-Mexico border and in the metropole, and the construction of the future around the figure of the child. Throughout, students will examine how film texts engage in ongoing cultural conversations about the formulation and reformulation of identity, often by exploring the flexible, contested boundaries between human and nonhuman, self and other, organism and machine, past and future. Course texts model intersectional understandings of the constitution of body and identity as site of both oppression and resistance.