Module Catalogue 2023/24

MCH3080 : Feminist Approaches to Media Analysis

MCH3080 : Feminist Approaches to Media Analysis

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Karen Ross
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to introduce students to some of the key themes associated with the relationship between media and gender from a feminist perspective, using key theoretical concepts such as patriarchy, framing and agenda- setting to explore the varied forms of gendered media relations, with a focus on fact-based media forms and formats. We will look at the ways in which versions of masculinity and femininity (gender constructs) as well as other identities such as non-binary and trans identities, are routinely circulated in popular media through a discussion of examples drawn from legacy media such as newspapers, TV and radio as well as digital and social media platforms. We will also explore the kinds of gendered relations which exist within media industries themselves, looking at the gendered political economy of the sector as well as the gendered newsroom. Who speaks in the media says important things about voice, agency and authority and we will be looking at the ways in which citizens, as both public and private figures, are encouraged to or prevented from speaking in the media. We will also discuss the ways in which citizens have subverted mainstream media’s agenda by developing their own media artefacts from both within mainstream media but also via online sites and social media platforms. Gender is more complicated than simply biological differences between women and men and turns on the constructed and normative nature of those differences and the module will aim to unpack this casual term by interrogating the implicit forms of difference such as ‘race’, disability, sexuality, class and age which are also constructed and contested terms, taking into account research and scholarship which focuses on intersectionality as well as gendered identities.

Importantly, module content and the readings (and other resources) associated with each topic are historically grounded in research-informed theory and practice and draw on current research practice and findings as disseminated through discipline-based journals with an international focus. Constructed notions such as gender, identity, sex and ethnicity are all both culturally and geopolitically situated and it is important to understand local, regional, national and international contexts when exploring gender and media, not least because so much media is now globally accessible and distributed. You are expected to use electronic databases and other bibliographic resources to access contemporary examples of current research in a global context.

Outline Of Syllabus

During the module, lecture topics may include:
- Theories of gender in/and media
- The disciplined body
- Disruptive identities
- Race and sex
- Ageing bodies
- Gendering media industries
- Gender in/and the news
- Shifting masculinities
- Interplay between crime and media
- Gender and digital media

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students who have successfully completed the module should have an understanding of the ways in which issues of gender and identity inflect different kinds of media and different genres within media. You should understand the ways in which gender is constructed in and through the media using a feminist lens, and how characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and disability, work with and through gender to produce multilayered subject positions, for both audiences and texts. More specifically, you should have developed a knowledge of, and be able to discuss critically:
• theories about the relationship between feminism, gender, identity and media;
• research on different aspects of the gender-media dyad, including at the level of representation and production;
• the ways in which citizens are differently represented within mainstream media texts and the extent to which those differences are consciously played out
• the ways in which identity differences are represented across both mainstream media and via online platforms including social media
• the ways in which digital spaces challenge or confirm traditional, gender-based differences in both use and representation
• how social media platforms are being used to construct alternative narratives of difference as well as weaponised to abuse targeted individuals

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module, students who have successfully completed the module, will also have developed intellectual and practical attributes in:
• critical review and engagement with work in different social science disciplines, noting the distinctiveness of different theoretical and methodological approaches;
• analysis and argument, drawing on a wide range of bibliographic materials;
• understanding how qualitative and quantitative research approaches have been used in research;
• technical proficiency in presenting data, for example in using Powerpoint;
• problem-solving;
• reflective practice;
• practical research skills, eg identifying and analysing relevant examples to illustrate the topics under discussion and being able to talk about such choices;
• writing succinctly;
• you will also have developed graduate attributes including a professional and ethical approach to work, curiosity about the world and understand how to be a global citizen.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00on-campus
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1105:00105:00develop plan, research topic, write case study assignment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00develop plan, research topic, construct individual presentations for portfolio assignment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0022:00reading and activities associated with each weekly theme
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00on-campus
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures constitute the primary building blocks to develop knowledge and understanding and seminars provide opportunities for students to discuss the key issues presented each week, using their own readings and their own research around a particular media example they have chosen, to better understand theory, practice and research and how current social issues have a gendered dimension and impact on our lives in different ways. The combination of lectures and seminars enables the learning outcomes to be met and the two drop-ins provide opportunities for consolidation and clarification.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2A703,000 words (equivalent) - media case study relating to one of the topics covered in the module
Portfolio2A30Set of research reports composited as one assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Providing two different assessment tasks enables students to demonstrate a range of skills, both practical and intellectual. Encouraging students to engage with the literature and/or contemporary media examples enable them to participate in small group teaching in a more meaningful and thoughtful way and embeds learning in a way more likely to be internalised and understood. Spreading the assessment load across the module’s time span is especially helpful in a third-year module, when students are also likely to be undertaking large-scale assessments such as dissertations. Although the portfolio assignment is to be submitted in the final week of the module, students are strongly encouraged to write up the weekly research reports in the form of a PPT presentation or similar, on each week’s topic, so they can be (potentially) presented and discussed during the small group teaching, so that by the end of the module, all the components of the portfolio assignment would have been completed.

A1 (70%) - case study (equivalent to 3,000 words) on a topic covered in the module. The focus of the case study should be a contemporary media example which should be analysed in depth (text, image, sound or any combination), using appropriate methods and discussing relevant literature to provide context.

A2 (30%) - portfolio of short research ‘reports’ produced on each week’s lecture topic – each report to be produced in Powerpoint (or similar) comprising at least 3 and no more than 5 slides, excluding the title and the final slide which should include a list of all references mentioned or quoted. The report can either focus on a contemporary example relevant to the topic or summarise one of the readings in the module's reading list or a reading identified by the student. At the end of the module, the reports must be composited into ONE document and submitted as ONE piece of coursework. Each report must be self-contained and tell its own story without the need for an oral presentation.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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