Steven Wexler



"Bond, James Bond."

This course examines the James Bond formation, the spectacle of espionage, nationalism, technology, and masculinity depicted in the Ian Fleming novels and Albert and Barbara Broccoli films, and the cultural capital "James Bond" brings.

Our license to theorize will help us rethink 007's transformation over the last fifty years in light of our own political, economic, and cultural changes. With the help of agents Edward Said, David Harvey, Judith Butler, and others, we'll attempt to answer important questions such as how do You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun orientalize the East? Does Auric Goldfinger personify the Federal Reserve under the gold standard? What do the various Bonds and Bond women suggest about our conceptions of sex and gender? How does Live and Let Die appropriate civil rights consciousness on behalf of Cold War politics? Could Quantum of Solace be an illiberal glance at transnational capital, class disparity, corruption, and paranoia?

Course Evaluation

  • Two Short Papers
  • Primary Text Group Presentation
  • WebCT Posts (weekly)
  • Blog
  • Final Essay

1. (2) Short Papers
You are asked to write two short papers (@ 500 to 750 words) that consider the James Bond films and novels in light of our critical readings.  These short papers are argumentative in nature and present a thesis up front and a minimum of three secondary sources (e.g., three articles) to support that thesis. Your requirements are as follow:

  • A logical flow of ideas with unified paragraphs and effective transitions
  • Effective incorporation of research materials, primary text(s), and other texts
  • MLA documentation including Works Cited page

2.  Primary Text Group Presentation
Your group will lead a discussion (@ 30 minutes) on a specified topic related to the James Bond novels and films, e.g., “Orientalism.”  Here are the specific requirements:

  • Design a classroom activity 
  • Each individual is responsible for a one-page analysis (@ 250-word) that states in explicit terms how s/he contributed to the group presentation. Created and posted on blog

3.  WebCT Posts (weekly)
Each week, post an informal yet thoughtful response to our readings and class discussion on our WebCT page. This reflection is a very important part of our coursework and a great opportunity for you to establish a meaningful dialogue with your classmates since they will post there, too.  I don’t count words, but I do look for clear, convincing reflections in a conversational tone.  Make connections to texts and things outside the class; go beyond summarizing.

To begin WebCT, go here:

4.  Blog

During the first week of class, create a blog devoted to our theme, the James Bond formation. Be prepared to discuss your blog to the class.  All writing projects will be created and posted on blogs.  

5.  Final Essay 
Your final, ten-page essay uses a primary text and supplemental readings to put forth a specific critique of a contemporary issue related to the "James Bond Formation" as defined in class.  I may ask you to respond specifically to a question.  In any event, you’ll go beyond our texts to establish a clear position on a main topic. How, for example, do our primary texts and supplemental readings shed light on political, economic, and institutional realities?  Like your response paper, this longer essay should represent careful scholarly work.  Final essay created and posted on blog.


Class participation includes discussions, WebCT posts, student-instructor conferences, and workshop activities.  Everyone has something to contribute to the class, and there is always an opportunity to learn from each other.  If you do not feel comfortable speaking in class you may participate in other ways.  Although participation grades will not be distributed, I will be happy to discuss any questions you have about your progress.

Late work will not be accepted unless you have obtained an extension from me ahead of time. You must submit your essay even if you miss class on its due date. 

When you enroll in our class you make a commitment to your classmates. This is a participatory, collaborative workshop-style class and attendance is absolutely essential to our success. Since we meet only once per week, grades are dropped a letter after two absences and an F is given after five.  All work is due on the date specified in our syllabus. You are responsible for completing and submitting any work due for a day that you miss and you must come prepared with any work required for the following class.  Please feel free to contact me or see me during my office hours to learn what you missed and how to prepare for the next session. 

I grade holistically: you'll receive an email midterm assessment of your work with comments and grade range, e.g., "A-/B+", and then a final grade at the semester's end, once your work is assessed in its entirety.  Please feel free to come by my office, email, or phone me if you have concerns at any time during the semester.  NOTE: it is most important that I have your preferred email (please post your email on your blog) and that you check your email regularly throughout the semester.

Academic Honesty
You must be scrupulously honest in documenting the work that you have drawn from others.  Like other institutions, CSUN maintains a strict academic honesty policy.  Plagiarism is illegal and dishonest.  All cases of academic dishonesty must be reported to the Dean, who may suspend or permanently dismiss you from CSUN.  You will receive a course grade of F if you plagiarize in E312.


Weekly Syllabus
Course requirements and policies are subject to change; not all texts are represented below. Work is due on the date it appearsEach week requires a WebCT post prior to class.

1/20  Introductions
Syllabus and Course Overview
Meet your classmates
Two Bonds,
Two scenes

1/27  James Bond Beginnings
“Fleming, Ian Fleming”
Book:Casino Royale
Film: Dr. No

2/3    Cinema and Nation: Cold War Bond
Book:Casino Royale (cont’d)
Bennett. "The Moments of Bond"
Black. "Cold War Stories"
Baron: "Dr. No: Bonding Britishness to Racial Sovereignty"
Film: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

2/10  Cinema and Nation: Cold War Bond (cont’d)
Due: Short Paper #1
Book: From Russia with Love
Film: From Russia with Love

2/17  Cinema and Nation: Cold War Bond (cont’d)
Group #1
Book: From Russia With Love (cont’d)
MacKenzie. "Mimetic Nationhood: Ethnography and the National"
Richards. "The Swinging Sixties and After"
Film: North by Northwest

2/24  Gentleman Spies and Lascivious Women: The Bond Masculine and Feminine
Group #2
Synnott. "The Beauty Mystique: Ethics and Aesthetics in the Bond Genre."
Satirical Bond: Austin Powers, Casino Royale (1967), Dr. Strangelove, Our Man Flint

3/3  License to Look: James Bond and the Orient
Book: Orientalism
Book: You Only Live Twice
Film: You Only Live Twice

3/10  License to Look: James Bond and the Orient (cont’d)
Group #3
Book: Orientalism (cont’d)
Book: You Only Live Twice (cont’d)
Film: The Man with the Golden Gun

3/17  James Bond and “Q” Technology
Group #4
Annotated Bibliography Due
Goldman: "Images of Technology in Popular Films"
Film: Goldfinger

3/24  Blaxploitation Bond
Due: Short Paper #2
Book: Live and Let Die

3/31 Cesar Chavez Holiday


4/14   Blaxploitation Bond (cont’d)
Group #5
Reid. "The Black Action Film: The End of the Patiently Enduring Black Hero."
Book: Live and Let Die (cont’d)
Film: Live and Let Die
Film: Shaft

4/21   Bond in the Global Age
Book: A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Film: Casino Royale (2006)

4/28   Bond in the Global Age (cont’d)
Group #6
Book: A Brief History of Neoliberalism (cont’d)
Film: Quantum of Solace (if available)

5/5  Blog Project Presentations

5/15 Due: Blog Project
with Final Paper






























































































Spring 2009
Professor Steven Wexler
JR 319
T 4:20-6:45 PM

Office Hours: W 2:00 - 4:00, R 10:00 - 11:00

Fleming. Casino Royale
---. From Russia with Love

---. Live & Let Die
---. You Only Live Twice
Harvey. A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Said. Orientalism

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Roach 1997)
Casino Royale (Campbell 2006)
Casino Royale (Guest 1967)
Diamonds are Forever (Hamilton 1971)
Dr. No (Young 1962)
Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick 1964)
From Russia with Love (Young 1963)
Goldfinger (Hamilton 1964)
Live and Let Die (Hamilton 1973)
The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer 1962)
The Man with the Golden Gun (Hamilton 1974)
Moonraker (Gilbert 1979)
North by Northwest (Hitchcock 1959)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Hunt 1969)
Our Man Flint (Mann 1966)
Quantum of Solace (Forster 2008)
Shaft (Parks 1971)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Ritt 1965)
You Only Live Twice (Gilbert 1967)

Reid, Mark A. "The Black Action Film: The End of the Patiently Enduring Black Hero."
Synnott, Anthony. "The Beauty Mystique: Ethics and Aesthetics in the Bond Genre."

Suggested Readings:
Benson, Raymond. The James Bond Bedside Companion. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1984.

Gallagher, Mark. Action Figures: Men, Action Films, and Contemporary Adventure Narratives. New York: Palgrave, 2006.

Hannerz, Ulf. Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places. London: Routledge, 1996.

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2000.

Hjort, Mette, and Scott Mackenzie. Cinema and Nation. London: Routledge, 2000.

Langford, Barry. Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2005.

Lindner, Christoph, ed. The James Bond Phenomenon. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2003.

Ong, Aihwa. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logic of Transnationality. Durham: Duke UP, 1999.

Richards, Jeffrey. Films and British National Identity: From Dickens to Dad's Army. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1997.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge, 1988.