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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 My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures mixed with workgroup class meetings

Assessment method


  1. Blog Post
  2. Response
  3. Group presentation
  4. Abstract
  5. Final Paper


  1. Blog Post (25%)
  2. Response (Pass/Fail)
  3. Group presentation (25%)
  4. Abstract (Pass/Fail)
  5. Final Paper (50%)


A resit of the 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 My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.


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

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


For more information please check the website Film- en literatuurwetenschap of the study program Film and Literature Studies.