GSSA 2108 - Life on Screen: Social Issues through Film

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

Films are popular texts and therefore reach mass audiences in ways that academic social science and gender theory writings do not. This course is not a film theory course, but rather uses films and other popular media texts (such as television mini-series) to ask questions about representations of inequality and difference in Australian society. The course explores the capacities and limitations of popular texts, including films, to explore structures which model, and provoke debate around gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and class in Australian society. Do films and other popular media narratives offer insights into the experience of social inequality in ways that academic research rarely achieves? Are some issues and experiences better served by popular and/or fictionalised treatments than others? What are the limitations of certain popular representations of inequality in building audience knowledge and understanding? What are some of the debates that have arisen in response to some Australian films or television mini-series?

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GSSA 2108
    Course Life on Screen: Social Issues through Film
    Coordinating Unit Gender Studies and Social Analysis
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Prerequisites 12 units of Level I study
    Incompatible GWSI 2008, GWSI 3008, GWSI 2108, GWSI 2108
    Course Description Films are popular texts and therefore reach mass audiences in ways that academic social science and gender theory writings do not. This course is not a film theory course, but rather uses films and other popular media texts (such as television mini-series) to ask questions about representations of inequality and difference in Australian society. The course explores the capacities and limitations of popular texts, including films, to explore structures which model, and provoke debate around gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and class in Australian society. Do films and other popular media narratives offer insights into the experience of social inequality in ways that academic research rarely achieves? Are some issues and experiences better served by popular and/or fictionalised treatments than others? What are the limitations of certain popular representations of inequality in building audience knowledge and understanding? What are some of the debates that have arisen in response to some Australian films or television mini-series?
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Anna Szorenyi

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Identify, interpret and critically evaluate the representation of various social issues and identities in narrative film, including gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexualities
    2 Reflexively evaluate their own critical engagement with social issues in film and media as a basis for lifelong learning
    3 Engage with both film and social theory as means to understand and respect diverse life experiences, with attention to issues of social justice and equity.
    4 Analyse films using established film analysis techniques
    5 Collect, compare and synthesise differing representations of a social issue in order to draw a reasoned conclusion
    6 Use appropriate language, terminology and concepts in order to discuss the influence of social structures and identities on everyday life in Australia
    7 Construct a clear, coherent and independent argument which responds to a particular question and is supported by appropriate scholarly evidence, within identified timeframes.
    8 Demonstrate interpersonal, leadership and teamwork skills in group activities
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2, 3, 6, 7 ,8
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,2, 4
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1, 2, 3
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 3, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    GSSA 2108 Course Reader - Hard copy available for purchase from Image and Copy Centre, Level 1 Hughes building.  The reader will also be made available free of charge in electronic form via MyUni, and in hard copy on reserve in the library.   

    A selection of films made available for streaming online free-of-charge via Kanopy (access via Barr Smith library at http://adelaide.kanopystreaming.com.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/s-homepage).  

    The course MyUni site, available at http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au

    The course library page (URL will be provided during semester).
    Recommended Resources

    An extensive list of further resources will be provided during semester.  These include:

    A list of suitable films for each topic of the course

    DVDs available on reserve in the library

    A list of further readings on each topic

    Resource guides on Harvard referencing and essay writing

    Assistance with finding library research materials.

    Online Learning
    The course has a MyUni course site which provides announcements, discussion board, recorded lectures, assignment submission and further resources.

    This course also makes use of Kanopy, which allows you to watch selected films online for free via the Barr Smith Library  http://adelaide.kanopystreaming.com.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/s-homepage.  Students will be expected to use Kanopy to watch feature films, and to make and share clippings for discussion in tutorials.  

    Students wishing to study the course entirely online should enrol in the external course GSSA 2108 EX.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Face to face:
    Lectures - overview of material and demonstration of techniques.  Opportunities for self-reflection and discussion included.
    Tutorials - discussion, group exercises, case studies/examples, problem solving

    Independent:
    Reading and related assessment exercises
    Practising film analysis techniques
    Self-reflection/journaling
    Online discussion
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    You are expected to spend 12 hours per week on this course during each week of semester.

    2 hour lecture
    1 hour tutorial
    9 hours independents study, including:
    2-3 hours on set tutorial readings
    1-3 hours on film viewings
    3-5 hours on further reading and assignment preparation
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week

    Topic

     

    Part   1: Concepts & skills

    1

    Introduction: Film, society and the senses

    2

    Analysing film: Techniques and methods

    3

    Inventing your story: Neoliberalism and biography

    Part 2: Social issues and identities in film

    4

    Everyday inequaliities: Class and habitus

    5

    Film viewing session

    6

    'I bet we're dumped': Femininities and feminisms 

    7

    'No girlfriends allowed': Men and masculinities

    8

    'I'm a sailor and a whore': Sexualities

    9

    Whose country? Indigenous sovereignty

    10

    Shifting the centre: Migration and ethnicity

    11

    Conclusion and summary

    12

    Essay consultations


    Note:  Depending on semester timetabling, tutorial topics may run one week behind lecture topics.  Consult the course guide provided during semester for details.
    Specific Course Requirements
    In order to pass this course, you will be required to watch at least one feature film per week.  There is no set screening time; films are available online for you to watch when convenient.

    During semester you may also be required to attend one feature film of your choice in a cinema, preferably with other students from the course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

     

    Assignment

    Type

    Due

    Weight

    Learning Objectives

    First short essay

    Formative and summative

    Week 5

    25%; 1000-1500 words

    2, 6, 7

    Film analysis

    Formative and summative

    Week 7

    25%: 1000-1500 words

    4, 6, 7

    Major essay

    Summative

    Week 13 

    40%: 2500-3000 words

    1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    Tutorial participation

    Formative and Summative

    Each week 

    10%

    1, 2, 3, 4, 8

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance at tutorials is compulsory.  Students may miss two tutorials during semester without penalty (other than the missed opportunity for learning).  Absences beyond this will be required to be made up with extra work.

    Assessment Detail
    First short assignment
    You will write a brief essay about a particular aspect of the relationship between society and film.  Set topics will be provided. 

    Film Analysis

    You will write an analysis of a scene from a film using established techniques of film analysis learned in the course. 

    Major Essay
    You will write an essay on a particular social issue in Australia, drawing on films to illustrate what you are saying and using the concepts and skills we have developed during the course.  Set topics will be provided. 

    Tutorial Participation
    You will be assessed on your contribution to the learning atmosphere of the class, including evidence of preparation, verbal and non-verbal participation, level of comprehension, engagement in group and class exercises, and respect for and consideration of other students. Note marks are not granted simply for attending.

    Further details of all assessment including set topics, research requirements and assessment criteria will be provided during semester.
    Submission
    All assignments must be:
    · 1.5 line spaced
    · Referenced in Harvard style
     
    Assignments will be submitted online via MyUni, and checked for plagiarism using Turnitin. 

    Extensions must be sought prior to the due date and documentary evidence will be required.  Marks will be deducted from assignments submitted late without an extension.

    Assignments will be marked within 2 weeks where possible, and returned either online or in hard copy. 

    Further details of assignment submission and return processes will be provided during semester.





    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.