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ARTH 368 Studies in Contemporary Art & Architecture: The Monstrous Feminine

  • Tuesdays, 11:45am - 2:15pm
  • EV 1.615
  • Instructor: Dr. Vanessa Mackenzie Parent

This course investigates the concept of the ‘monstrous feminine’ through its visual iterations in art and popular culture. It will trace its discursive development from the association of the female sex with threatening corporeality, to its various reclamations as site of feminist contestation and its emergence as a potentially productive challenge to normative gender schemas, sexual identities and prescriptive desirability. While the course will focus primarily on contemporary art and visual culture, it will include references to pre-modern and modern works to properly historicize the themes and questions we will be tackling. Furthermore, considering the ‘monstrous feminine’s’ relevance to contemporary social, political and cultural concerns relating to corporeal alterity and social inequities, this course will also include film, literature, social media, music videos, and other cultural forms (the ‘Karen’ for example) as objects of inquiry. As a construct that resists strict and stable definition, it is the objective of this course to excavate the meanings and manifestations of the ‘monstrous feminine’ while framing it as a rich site of interdisciplinary inquiry relevant to gender, sexuality, critical race and disability studies.

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