Men In Tights, Women Who Fight: Gender, Race, and, SuperheroesJuly 2, 2021
Professor Monica J. Casper Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
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?