Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Spring 2021
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: ENGL 110.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VI: United States Cultures & Communities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the influence of the moving image in shaping values and perceptions in the U.S. and abroad.


This course examines the complexities of race and gender representation in U.S. film and media. Students study the history of media representation, applying theory as a tool for analysis. Examine the means by which the media define and promote cultural stereotypes. In addition, students examine how media images and institutions influence and shape racial and gender identities. Contributions to the field of important filmmakers and media artists will be examined.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Examine and interpret U.S. racial histories, how they reflect and influence contemporary racial definitions and biases.
B. Describe how cultural myths and narratives about race and gender have been defined and shaped by media.
C. Identify and apply major media theories, including reception/spectator, feminist, queer and multicultural, to the study of race and gender representation.
D. Appraise and critique media sources with regard to their representation of race and gender.
E. Identify the contributions to film and media art made by people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Course Content

A. Key concepts of media analysis and theory
1. Structuralism and semiotics
2. Medium theory
3. Reception/spectator theory
4. Feminist film theory
5. Psychoanalytic analysis
6. Queer theory
B. Concepts of critical race theory
1. Whiteness
2. Institutionalized racism
3. White privilege
4. Storytelling and counter-storytelling
5. Color blindness
6. Microaggressions
C. The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 and its impact on race and gender media representations
D. African American histories and stereotypes in media
1. Racist African American stereotypes and histories: Uncle Tom, coon, pickaninny, the savage, mammy, wench, Sapphire
2. The evolution of early racist African American stereotypes to current media
3. History of Blackface: Vaudeville and the silent film era
4. Race movies
5. Blaxploitation films
E. Latino histories and stereotypes in media
1. Early racist Latino/Latina stereotypes: the bandit, the clown, greaser, Latin lover, spitfire, maid
2. The evolution of early Latino/Latina stereotypes to current media
3. The early 1920s Mexican government protest and embargo of Hollywood films
F. Asian American histories and racist stereotypes in media
1. Early racist Asian stereotypes: the dragon lady, coolie, yellow peril
2. The evolution of early Asian American stereotypes to current media
G. Gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual, transgender histories and stereotypes in media
1. Early LGBT stereotypes: the sissy, villain, show queen, psychotic, butch
2. The evolution of LGBT stereotypes to current media
H. Seminal media, films, actors, filmmakers
1. D.W. Griffith and Birth of a Nation
2. Amos 'n Andy
3. Early 20th century directors, including: Oscar Michaeux, Alice Guy-Blache, Dorothy Arzner, Tazuko Sakane, Ida Lupino, Germaine Dulac
4. Early 20th century actors, including: Anna May Wong, Ramon Novarro, Lupe Velez, Dolores del Rio, Paul Robeson, Hattie McDaniel

Lab Content

A. Media screenings either on-campus or via the internet for the completion of written assignments, exams, and analyses.
B. Feedback on tests and assignments either in person or online via chat rooms, list-servs.
C. Preparation and collaborative work on group projects.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Forum-type room with projection booth, video projection system, amplified sound system. Internet access and laptop computer patch to system. Playback equipment formats required: DVD or Blu-Ray disk.
B. Library for media research, books, scripts, videotape/DVD playback facility.
C. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address, JavaScript enabled internet browsing software and videotape viewing ability as stated in B, above.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Writing assignments that require the student to construct, develop and defend an argument referencing the course media screenings and reading materials.
B. Objective exam(s) that reference reading materials and lecture.
C. Writing assignments (including research paper, homework, essay exam) that demonstrate mastery of concepts in media analysis and theory.
D. Oral presentations that require students to demonstrate key concepts.

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lectures, presentations, and screenings that present and examine course objectives.
B. Discussion and critique of assigned reading and representative media.
C. Cooperative learning exercises that require students to apply core concepts in media.
D. Group project presentation followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
E. Screenings of media that illustrate and support course content.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Davila, Arlene. Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. University of California Press, 2012.
Dines, Gail, and Jean Humez. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Sage Publications, 2015.
Entman, Robert, and Andrew Rojecki. The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America. University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Kearney, Mary Celeste. The Gender and Media Reader. Routledge, 2011.
Ono, Kent, and Vincent Pham. Asian Americans and the Media. Polity Press, 2009.
Rodriguez, Clara. Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media. Westview Press, 1997.
Although several texts on this list are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Critical analyses in the form of journals or online discussion assignments.
B. Research or critical essay that requires the student to select media from viewing list and construct, develop and defend an argument referencing the film and the reading materials.
C. Examination that requires students to apply core concepts and issues of course content.
D. Quizzes and exams that test understanding of reading material and lecture.


Media Production or Film Studies or Mass Communication