Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD Program

Faculty of Humanities




Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD Program

Terrance H. McDonald

 
Ph. D. - Brock University, Status: ABD
M. A. - Wilfrid Laurier University, 2011, English and Film Studies
M. A. - Laurentian University, 2010, Interdisciplinary Humanities
B. A. - Laurentian University, 2009, English Literature
 
 
Dissertation: “Mediated Masculinities: The Expression and Alteration of Masculinity in Hollywood Cinema, 1990-2010”
 
Supervisor: Dr. Barry Keith Grant
 
How does an increasingly visual culture impact and mediate our understanding and perception of masculinity? Specifically, my project examines the implications that the amplified film style of turn of the new millennium American cinema (Bordwell 2006 & Buckland 2009) has on our understanding of masculinities. Therefore, my analysis of masculine crisis films, narratives centred on defeated and disempowered male protagonists (Gates 2006), will identify patterns and commonalities in the specific details of scene, shot, and stylistic elements in film form that express masculinity (Bruzzi 2013). An examination of these findings, through the lens of masculinities studies, feminist theory, and posthumanism, will generate an understanding of how masculine identities are expressed and altered by Hollywood cinema and other forms of media.
 
By increasing our knowledge of the visual modes that express masculinities, we can recognize that Hollywood films, and other forms of moving images, do not merely document identities, but alter how we perceive and conceive of identities. Therefore, my project will develop a method to interrogate the processes through which Hollywood films frequently use “style and mise en scene to convey masculinity, not merely to represent it” (Bruzzi, 2013, 5). Simply documenting the various visual representations of masculinity is inadequate for an understanding of how gender ideals circulate. Due to the development of an increasingly visual culture where we are in constant contact with digital screens, our identities are intertwined with communicated visual ideals, or mediated masculinities. Furthermore, men’s bodies now define “for our culture the ideal male body and, by implication, masculinity itself” (Buchbinder, 2013, 142). With the blurring of boundaries between traditional, heteronormative sex roles (Butler 2004), the male body and the visual expression of our corporeality is quickly becoming the dominant signifier of masculinity. Thus, my project will define and investigate how mediated masculinities are expressed and how they are woven into our formulation of masculine identities.
Terrance McDonald