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MDST 375 Women in Film

This course introduces students to early conventions of representing women's lives on film, tracing how those representations changed and expanded the 1930s to the present. Focusing on the genre of "the woman's film," students will learn specific film analytic approaches and recognize how technical components of film-making affect narrative, character, subtext, and theme to influence how an audience responds to stories about women. The trajectory of the course ends in examining changes in the woman's film when representations of women become more diverse, and as more women participate in screenwriting and film-making. Assignments in the course will develop the student's ability to write critically about film, tying mechanical techniques to narrative analysis, using contemporary film theory to advance the student's own thesis on depictions of women in particular films.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective January 9, 2017 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Demonstrate a critical understanding and an informed personal reaction to selected films/topic in written analysis.
  • Demonstrate through an analytic criteria, an awareness of the scope and variety of chosen topic in film based on themes, directors, or other categories.
  • Evaluate selected works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context or evaluate the artistic/creative elements in the film.
  • Articulate perceptions of theme and representation of women issues in film through analysis of mise-en-scene and narrative analysis.
  • Understand films as artistic expressions of individual and human values within an historical and social context, including discourse on issues of race and anti-racism, ethnicity, class, and sexuality.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of films which represent women as subject and producers of culture, as evidenced in genre, characterization, and theme.
  • Respond critically to films, using mise-en-scene, narrative analysis, feminist film criticism, and other tools to put forth a thesis on a film's meanings, structure, and place in the tradition of the woman's film.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.