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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
June 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Studies in Gender, Nation, and Media

Gender studies involve not only the recovery of writers who have been neglected by canonical study, but also the exploration of how various kinds of literature encode cultural discourses about gender.  The study of gender is a pluralistic activity that takes place not inside the narrow perimeters of a specific discipline but inside and throughout the multiple cultural discourses that surround us.,  The specialization in gender emerges in the wake of feminist theory and criticism, performance theory, masculinity studies, cultural studies, and queer theory.  Gender is recognized as a critical factor in the production, circulation, and consumption of literary, filmic, and other cultural discourses.  Theorizing and exploring gender in historical, performative, psycho-social, and political contexts, gender studies incorporates a range of inquiries and methodologies that inquire into the cultural construction of gender and sexuality.

Course selections in Gender
(this is not an exhaustive list, but rather represents the types of course offerings that our faculty regularly teach):

Canadian Women’s Literature, Caribbean Women’s Fiction, Gender and Genre in Renaissance Drama, Medieval Patience Literature, Melodrama and the ‘Woman’s Picture’, First Wave Feminism: Print Culture in Britain, Women Writers of the 17th Century, Women in Crime Fiction and Film . . .

Studies of nation emphasize literary and filmic works as well as visual and oral narratives that contribute to one's sense of belonging to an "imagined" community, whether to a domestic family, to a socio-cultural or religious group, or to a broader ideological and political system, such as a nation or an empire.  In addition to national literatures and films from Britain, Canada, and the United States, courses that emphasize the study of nationhood explore contemporary debates and theoretical developments in post-colonial, global, minority, indigenous, and diasporic studies (including Asian, Caribbean, and African).  Theoretical, cultural, and historical concerns include those of war, imperialism, settlement, slavery, race, hybridity, mobility, globalization, human rights, and gender.

Course selections in Nation (this is not an exhaustive list, but rather represents the types of course offerings that our faculty regularly teach):

Canadian Literary Pluralities, Colonial Modernity and Identity Politics in Film, Indigenous Writing and Film-Making in North America, Labyrinths of Sound: The Politics of Music and Post-War Fiction, Re-Reading Post-Colonial Theory, The Canadian Elegy, The Victorian Novel and the Idea of Nation, The Romantic Sublime: Variations on a Theme, Victorian Fiction and Animals, Voices of the Diaspora: Asian-American Narratives . . .

The program also offers courses that emphasize media as part of a discursive practice that valorizes text as context, and examines the modes of cultural production and consumption through which ideologies are disseminated, normalized, or contested.  In these courses, films and literary works are read with awareness of their historical, cultural, and discursive milieus.  In literary studies, these range from the medieval and early modern to postmodern periods; in film studies, from silent to classical to contemporary films.  Courses that emphasize the role of media in literary or cinematic analysis invoke the postmodernist principle that the meanings of a text or a film constitute themselves through reflexive processes of origin, configuration, response, interpretation and reinterpretation.  Scholarship activity in this area can include such varied approaches as aesthetics, translation, adaptation, intertextuality, structural codes and conventions, editing, performance analysis, transmission, circulation and reception of manuscripts, scripts and other kinds of texts, source study, stylistics, semantics, semiotics (verbal, visual, aural, gendered), and discourse analysis.

Course selections in Media (this is not an exhaustive list, but rather represents the types of course offerings that our faculty regularly teach):

Cosmetics, Aesthetics, and the Beautiful, Cyberpunk in Film and Fiction, Digital Cinema, Film Historiography, Human Rights Genres: Testimonial to Documentary, Medicine, Saints, and Romance: Female Readership and the Medieval Book, Memory in Art Film Narrative . . .

. . . In other words, our courses range from the medieval to the modern and postmodern periods, cover a spectrum of theoretical and critical approaches as well as national and cultural contexts, while also reflecting innovations and developments in these fields of study. Our graduate courses stress the acquisition of critical skills (e.g., close reading, rhetorical or representational strategies, aesthetic evaluation), ethical awareness, as well as political and social engagement (in scholarship, pedagogy, the academic institution, and the local and global community).