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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL3040 Hollywood and its Others

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Chris Homewood

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

For its most ardent supporters, Hollywood is viewed as a subversive liberal force, which champions a progressive message of diversity and equality. On the other hand, Hollywood's detractors argue it is an amorally capitalistic and irritatingly anachronistic cultural entity, whose films serve to reproduce and reinforce conservative hierarchies, particularly in relation to sexuality, gender, and race. This module's content will allow students to gain a critical insight into the representational processes employed by the Hollywood machine to cast individuals, groups, and even entire cultures, into the role of 'Other'.


This module will introduce students to theoretical concepts surrounding the representation of difference or 'otherness' in Hollywood cinema. Taking into account ideas of gender, sexuality, and race, a series of case studies from a wide variety of genres (from melodrama to science fiction and the action film) will be employed to look at how, and to which ideological ends, both non-majority figures within Western society and other cultures are portrayed by the dream factory.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical debates surrounding the production and reception of otherness in film.
- analyse a range of filmic, academic and journalistic texts within their appropriate cultural and generic contexts.
- Demonstrate an ability to recognise and appropriately classify different concepts of otherness.
- effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms.

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module, students should have developed advanced analysis skills through broad secondary reading and close textual study. They should also have developed their ability to use appropriate film studies related terminology via their engagement with a variety of films and numerous film related articles and texts.


The first part of module will focus upon Hollywood's representation of sexual minorities, primarily gay men and women, as they appear in films with heterosexual protagonists. The second part of the module moves on to explore how women are portrayed when they intrude upon conventionally male genres, such as the action film. The final part of the module looks at the representation of, primarily, China (formerly the site of absolute otherness to the West) and its Western diasporas in fantasy and science fiction films from the 1980s to the present day.

Films studied on the module may include (amongst others): Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003); Shame (2011); Skyfall (2012); Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Students will be required to engage with a variety of film-related texts and articles, example of which include:
Benshoff, H & Griffin, S (2006), Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America.
Bordwell, D (2006), The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies.
Purse, L (2011), Contemporary Action Cinema.
Park, J (2010), Yellow Future: Oriental Styles in Hollywood Cinema.
Tasker, Y (1993), Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Genre and the Action Cinema.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Watching the films; reading in preparation for the lecture-seminar; formulating answers for set lecture-seminar questions; preparation for presenting research outcomes in the lecture-seminar; researching and writing essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be expected to prepare a weekly, formative presentation, which will be discussed in the lecture-seminar and lead to individual feedback. Student progress will also be monitored through their participation in weekly lecture-seminar discussions and their work on the scene analysis exercise that is due in week 21 of the semester.

Students will be invited to submit plans for both assessments. Formative feedback is also delivered during seminar discussion.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature Review2000 words40.00
Essay3,000 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:42:52


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