2000 grads

The first graduating class of Gender Studies majors in 2000

Leila Ahmed

Lelia Ahmed gives a lecture in May 2012

Alison Bechdel and student

Alison Bechdel speaks with a student at an exhibition of her work

Lauren Berlant and Mel Chen

Professor Lauren Berlant introducing guest speaker Mel Chen

Lauren Berlant and Kristen Schilt

Professors Lauren Berlant and Kristen Schilt participate in a zine making workshop

Hillary Chute and Alison Bechdel

Professor Hillary Chute and Alison Bechdel


Students participate in a classroom discussion at CSGS

Community room

The Community Room at 5733 S University

center door

Center entrance

2011 fellows

CSGS Fellows in 2011

5733 exterior

The exterior of 5733 S University

Student question

A student asks a question after a talk by Kimberly Peirce in October 2011

Counter Cinema/Counter Media Project

Project Director: Jennifer Wild, Cinema and Media Studies

The Counter Cinema/Counter Media project focuses on film and media practices that resist or "counter" the language and messaging of dominant film and media outlets, platforms, and traditions. Historically, counter practices have been understood both an active opposition to the codes, uses, and ideology of mainstream film and media, and the attempt to generate an alternative grammar or set of rules for constructing meaning, narrative, and visual representation. While the origins of counter-cinema are rooted largely in early experimental filmmaking and the avant-garde, the term came to the fore in the 1970s with the rise of feminism, feminist film theory, and political modernism; it extends into politically militant and collective cinema approaches and anti-colonial "Third cinema" traditions.

Since the inception of this project in 2012, there have been vast transformations in what we might now think of counter media practices, whether in cinema or in media broadly conceived. On the one hand, the CC/CM project continues to ask the following questions: what is the visual, formal language of opposition, and what is its relevance to the issues of gender and sexuality in the twenty-first century? Which aspects of resistant visual language remain potent, and which have been absorbed into the dominant vernacular of our film and media landscape? Does the form of resistance still matter?

On the other hand, the most urgent task of CC/CM project today is to grapple with our contemporary media landscape’s discourses of truth and falsehood, and to explore the range of media platforms that are used to promote or decry political ideologies. In our era of “fake news,” diverse “resistance” movements across the political spectrum, terrorism and counter-terrorism strategies, and evolving forms of propaganda, the CC/CM project promotes research about how gender and sexuality are targeted, exploited, or weaponized toward political ends.

2017-18 Events

  • Wednesday, November 8 at 3:30pm:
    Bob Pape on ISIS Media
    Robert Pape, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) will present his team’s expanded research on the evolution of video propaganda associated with violent extremist organizations such as, but not only, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
  • Wednesday, November 29 at 3:30pm:
    Media Wars Student Symposium: Resistance, Gender and Sexuality, and Discourses of Truth and Non-Truth
    Please join us for a mini-conference of undergraduate research aimed at tracking, evaluating, and theorizing contemporary or historical media that situate gender and sexuality within a so-called “media war,” or in their construction and dissemination of “truth” and/or resistance.