Humanities Seminars Course: Men In Tights, Women Who Fight: Gender, Race, and Superheroes

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 10:00am to Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - 12:00pm

Men In Tights, Women Who Fight: Gender, Race, and Superheroes

Professor Monica Casper, Department of Gender and Women's Studies
TUESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. March 1 - April 5, 2016. No class on March 15.

Tuition: $105

Register here.

Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Black Widow--the list of America’s superheroes is long. Comic books, TV, and cinema have long built up the appeal of superheroes, and they remain popular. Embodiments of cultural meanings, social practices, and political imaginaries, superheroes tell us stories about ourselves. Historically, representations of superheroes have been connected to national security and the Cold War, changing gender roles, racial stereotypes, and environmental issues. In this course we attend to gender, race, and sex as they play out in the bodies, lives, and storylines of America’s superheroes. We ask: What can Wonder Woman’s history tell us about gender and sex in the 20th century? How do Batman and Superman differently represent masculinity? And what do superheroes reveal about national identity, cultural memory, and collective hope? 



DC Comics. Batman. A Simple Case (#44). 2015. ISSN: 2164-8735.  [Please note: This text is available for sale at “Heroes and Villains” at 4533 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85711. All other texts have been ordered through the UA bookstore.]

Deconnick, Kelly Sue and David Lopez. Captain Marvel Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More. Marvel, 2014. ISBN-10: 0785190139.

Fletcher, Brenden, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr. Batgirl Vol. 1 — The Batgirl of Burnside. DC Comics, 2015. ISBN-10: 1401257984.

Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Vintage, 2015. ISBN-10: 0804173400.

Wilson, G. Willow and Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal, 2014. ISBN-10: 078519021X.

Recommended Reading: 

Hatfield, Charles, Jeet Heer, and Kent Worcester. 2013. The Superhero Reader. University Press of Mississippi, 2013.  ISBN-10: 1617038067.

Howard, Sheena C. and Ronald L. Jackson II. Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. ISBN: 1441135286.

Misiroglu, Gina.The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes. Visible Ink Press, 2012. ISBN-10: 1578593751.

Robinson, Lillian. Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes. Routledge, 2004. ISBN-10: 0415966329.

Nama, Adilifu. Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011. ISBN-10: 0292726740.

Monica J. Casper, a sociologist, is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning The Making of the Unborn Patient, as well as managing coeditor of The Feminist Wire.