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Voyeurism and Exhibitionism: Gender and Visual Culture


Admission requirements

Not applicable


Gender studies offers a new way to watch films and look at the images surrounding you in your everyday world. Film theorists like Mulvey, Doane, and Modleski show how voyeurism and exhibitionism play an important role in how female and male viewers experience films. Art theorists like Berger, Bryson and Pollock also demonstrate how our way of looking – at visual art works, advertisements, images in popular culture but also, disputably, at each other – is highly gendered. In this course, on the basis of classic Hollywood favorites, more subversive films and photography, and your own found material, we analyze how we can problematize standard(ized) ways of gendered looking and how we might look differently at images of men and women. We will learn how visual texts organize who is to be seen as well as the (ideal) spectator position and will analyse how films and other texts from visual culture structure the gaze and to what effect. We explore genres like the nude and male pin-up, action films and melodramas, (trans*)images that disrupt a binary understanding of bodies as well as how whiteness/blackness and sexuality structure relations of looking

Course objectives

After completion of the course:

  • the student has insight into the theoretical debate on gender and visual culture;

  • the student masters the most important concepts in this discussion;

  • the student is able to deploy these critical concepts and discussions in his/her analysis of visual material (film, photography and visual arts);

  • the student is independently able to select cultural phenomena that are relevant to the discussion about the “look” and to analyze the organization of “gaze”.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures mixed with workgroup class meetings

Assessment method


  1. Discussion Point: Bring one topic, question or object to offer up for general discussion. This could be a fragment from the readings, an object, concept or argument. This can be a question that came up in relation to the readings, a particular fragment that you’d like to discuss together, a concept that draws the readings together, or an object with which to discuss the readings in a productive way. We will assign students to a week during the first session. Upload your discussion point (of 50-100 words) on the Discussion Board on the Thursday previous to the class meeting.
  2. Paper Proposal: Start to already think about your final paper in week 1. In week 4, you’ll submit a 350-500 word paper proposal in which you: introduce a visual text, connect it to at least two course readings and clearly state how your analysis of this visual text contributes to debates about gender, looking, and visual culture.
  3. Final Paper: select one visual text (i.e. a film, documentary, comic, painting, photograph, etc.) and provide a critical close reading of how this visual text contributes to debates about gender, looking and visual culture. Upload your paper of 1500-1800 words, including the selected image(s) on Turnitin on the 20th of December 2023.


  1. Discussion Point: complete/incomplete
  2. Paper Proposal: 25% of final grade
  3. Final Paper: 75% of final grade


A resit of the final paper is possible in case of an insufficient final grade

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Longer academic texts are available through the ‘collegeplank’ in the University Library and can be copied on site. Shorter texts are posted on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal.