SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHP324508
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Media and Journalism
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Prior knowledge of media, communication or cultural studies.

Summary of Content

The module will help students develop their critical analysis skills. Utilizing key concepts and central themes including: fandom, stardom, race, gender, sexuality, disability, mythology, active audiences, audience reception theory and convergence culture. The module will also help students to identify the normalising of hegemonic hierarchal structures in superhero fantasy films, television drama, original streaming content and interactive media like video games. The module delivery will include: weekly lectures, screenings and a weekly group seminar. The seminar will be based on the ideas, theories, and techniques introduced in the preceding lecture, readings and screenings and so participation will be vital and students will be encouraged to express their ideas in a welcoming environment.


Within the context of fandom, participatory culture and audience studies, this module will introduce the superhero as an aspect of popular culture worthy of academic study. Lectures will consider sub-topics of the genre and related genres. Key themes and intellectual areas will be, for example: -360b7 Prof. D Johnson and transmedia storytelling - Industrial Convergence b7 Marvel versus DC b7 Fans, critics, academics b7 Prof. L Vanzoonen - feminist perspectives on the media - a feminist reading of DCs Wonder Woman b7 Stuart Hall - Race the floating signifier - Representations of race in Marvel's Luke Cage b7 Disability and mental health discourses in Legion, Daredevil, and Logan b7 Henry Jenkins - the power of fandom and participatory culture

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Enhanced knowledge of the developments in film and television theory including: fandom, authorship, genre, adaptation, film language, stardom 2. Applying critical analysis to visual and interactive media3. Expand on skills in research and evaluation of relevant theoretical ideas and apply these to the superhero genre across media platforms4. Develop communication skills in a 'community' setting 5. Critically analyse research material, question assumptions made in media texts, and critically analyse fandom in relation to oneself

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Students will study the active audience and fan culture. Fans are now organised groups of people that actively market, promote, and circulate media texts and 'para texts'. Teaching and engagement will also cover perspectives on transmedia storytelling and collective intelligence in learning environments. The module will be a blend of lectures, closed readings and student-led seminars along with television and film screenings. The seminars will provide a space for the students to discuss their own experiences as fans and share the practices they engage with, for example, cosplay, machinima or gaming communities - without forsaking those fans of more traditional areas of celebrity culture more broadly. They will also be asked to use their personal experiences and critically consider the media franchises that they engage with and relate this to the theoretical debates in fan studies. This is an optional module and therefore the students learning experience will be enhanced by them being in a community environment. Independent learning will be encouraged and support given with tutorials given for assignments. As well as being able to access all information pertaining to the module on GCU Learn the site also offers a platform where the students can engage with each other outside of the classroom and they will be encouraged to do so (for example, share links to their own blogs if permissible or contribute to a wall space like Padlet). The aim of the module is to critically elevate a fundamental function of popular culture, participation, and apply it to established genres such as superhero culture, across media in film, television, and video games. With reference to convergence culture and debates around participation the module will help students to understand and deconstruct the ideological discourses that are embedded into the superhero, fantasy and SF genres and more. They will be encouraged to explore questions of power, agency, identity and environment.

Indicative Reading

Duncombe. S (2007), Dream: Reimagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, New York Press, New York Gray. J, Sandvoss. C, Harrington. L (2007), Fandom: Identities and Communities in A Mediated World, New York UP, New York Jenkins. H (2006), Fan, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture, New York UP, New York Johnson, D. "Cinematic Destiny: Marvel Studios and the Trade Stories of Industrial Convergence." Cinema Journal, vol. 52 no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-24. Project MUSE Hall. S (ed) (1997) Representation: Cultural representations and Signifying practices, Sage Publications, London Hellekson. K, Busse. K (eds) (2006), Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet, McFarland, Jefferson NC Van Zoonen, L (1991), Feminist perspectives on the media, Sage Publications, London Key Journals Screen Participations New Media and Society Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students should have: -360b7 Self-discipline b7 Ability to reflect, identify trends and think creatively b7 Time management and improve their research b7 Interpersonal skills b7 Group and community skills b7 Presentation skills b7 Independence and risk taking -360

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Tutorials (FT) 4.00
Assessment (FT) 17.00
Independent Learning (FT) 155.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Assessed seminars n/a 50.00 n/a Assessed seminars: Seminar presentation 30%/ Seminar participation 20%
Essay n/a 50.00 n/a Essay - 2,500 words