Animating the Other: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Animation

Welcome to

Animating the Other: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Animation

This course explores the various ways in which race, sexuality, and gender are portrayed in animated films and television. Students will ground these representations historically and culturally so they can evaluate the shifting terrain of contemporary animation. Students will learn and be able to utilize theories of race, gender, and sexuality, in order to unpack stereotypes and to analyze the films in relation to contemporary politics. Students will also interrogate the implications of animation’s status as a medium for children and how it informs their understanding of the world. Finally, students will explore the shift in animation geared towards adults, examining the ways in which issues of race, gender, and sexuality are either sublimated or challenged.

Course Objectives:

* Develop writing and critical thinking skills
* Improve oral presentation skills
* Understand the relationship between animation and society, especially stereotypical portrayals of race, gender, and sexuality
* Explore theoretical and critical methodologies for understanding animation

Theories and Methodologies that will be covered in this course:

Gender /Feminist Theory, Cultural Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Race Studies, Ideological Criticism

Class policies:

You are expected to attend ALL the class meetings. Three or more unexcused absences will result in lowering your final score by 10 points for each unexcused absence.

You should participate in class discussions, active participation means prior reading of assigned materials and sharing of relevant thoughts and experiences in class.

If you miss a class it is YOUR responsibility to get notes or materials from a classmate.

Assignments are due as indicated on the course calendar. NO late papers will be accepted. Papers may be turned in ahead of time if you are going to miss class.

Academic Honesty – Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty undermine the purpose of the university, diminish the value of your education, and will result in at least a failing grade. Do your own work. If you are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism, please ask.


1. Blog posts and participation in discussion sections 20%:

Undergraduate students you must post 5 blog/journal entries of at least 200 words throughout the semester (they cannot all be posted at the end).

Graduate students – you must post 8 blog/journal entries of at least 300 words throughout the semester (they cannot all be posted at the end).

All posts must be submitted on the appropriate discussion page on the course site by Wednesdays at 5pm. Each time you post, it should include TWO components (reading + media).

a) READING: you must comment on, analyze or offer a balanced critique of the reading for that week found online in the course syllabus. Here, you must demonstrate that you have done the reading and thought about it. You may choose to write on one article or more than one.

b) MEDIA: you must analyze a media artifact (film/tv) in relation to the readings for the week. You may discuss works shown in class or on materials you watched outside of class screenings.

* Posts which do not include both components will not receive full credit.

2. Disney Paper, 20%. Each student will write a short paper 5-7 pages about a Disney product, in relation to topics covered in class. Your paper should also include a brief abstract/conference proposal. Due 10/11/18.

3. Teacher for a Day: 25%. You will be expected to choose a reading and screening to discuss. You will outline the reading and connect it to the film/tv show you have decided to discuss. Keep in mind that discussion is part of teaching. Teaching presentations should be no longer than 40 minutes.

Undergraduates will work in groups of 3-4 students.

Graduates can work singly or in groups of two.

4. Final project: 25%. Final project must be proposed by the 5th week of class. You have two options for this assignment:

a) Write a research paper on a topic of your choosing. Your paper should combine theories/methodologies discussed in class with textual analysis of a film/TV series. (This can be an extension of your Disney paper.) You must use at least 1 of the readings from class and at least 3 academic sources not covered in this course. Use formatting and citation as outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style.

Undergraduates – 10-12 pages

Graduates – 15-20 pages

b) Create a videographic essay. This digital project will incorporate oral analysis with visual evidence from the film/show you have chosen to discuss. You must use at least 1 of the readings from class and at least 3 academic sources not covered in this course.

Undergraduates – 10-15 minutes

Graduates – 15-20 minutes

Due 12/5, 11:00 PM.

5. Final presentation: 10%. Each student will present their final in front of the class. You will have 10 minutes to present you work.


Class Schedule