Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Gender, Sexuality and Culture
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This course examines concepts relating to gender and sexuality, and we discuss the obsession with gendering in a historical, social, and cultural context. Topics for discussion also include: the sex/gender system; gender and sexuality in relation to identity, behaviour, the body and desire. Questions include: to what extent are the characteristics of masculinity and femininity born with us, or to what extent do the makers of gender vary over time and between societies? Is sexuality innate of socially constructed or a combination of the two?
The course explores how gender and sexuality are theorised and how gender and sexuality categories affect everyday experiences. The course begins by looking at basic concepts – ‘essentialism’ and ‘determinism’ – (lecture 1) that appear throughout the module, We then move onto critical examination of the historical development of expert knowledge about sex, gender and sexuality or ‘sex science’ (known as ‘sexology’) and also consider some psychoanalytic theories about gender and sexuality (lectures 2 and 3). After this, the work of Michel Foucault on the ‘historical’ construction of sexuality, and the part of expert knowledge in this, will be examined (week 4) We will then examine theories of gender/sexuality that have roots in 1960/70s ‘liberation’ politics – the women’s movement and lesbian/gay movement (week 5). The focus of enquiry subsequently shifts to the implications of Foucaultian, feminist and lesbian ideas for ‘difference theory’ - that explores in particular Queer and intersections theory (week 6). We then return (week 7) to examine structural dynamic ideas about how masculinities and femininities are implicated in contemporary ‘regimes’ of gendered sexuality, and reconstructionist ideas about intimacy and homonormativity to consider contemporary gendered and sexual transformations (Week 8). In week 9 we look at the ways in which the possibilities now open for same-sex marriage are indicative of the extent to which sexual citizenship has been achieved (week 9). The final session (lecture 10) and final tutorial are crucial because they recap key theories and concepts in a way that is designed to maximise your success in the end of course examination.
On completing the module, successful students will
1. have developed a critical understanding of a variety of approaches to understanding the construction of gender and sexuality;
2. be able to explain accurately and analyse a set of concepts and theories relating to the construction of and transformation of gender and sexuality;
be capable of demonstrating their in-depth knowledge of substantive areas covered on the course as well as their ability to apply concepts and theories, and to critically evaluate and analyse ideas about construction and transformation of gender and sexuality.
Teaching and learning methods
Weekly 2-hour lecture/workshop and weekly 1-hour tutorial
|Written assignment (inc essay)||35%|
All sociology courses include both formative feedback – which lets you know how you’re getting on and what you could do to improve – and summative feedback – which gives you a mark for your assessed work.
Beasley C (2003) Gender and Sexuality: Critical Theories. Critical Thinkers, London: Sage. Available online via Library Catalogue
Cranny-Francis A et al (eds) (2003) Gender Studies: Terms and Debates, London: Palgrave.
Jackson, S. (2010) Theorizing Sexuality. Maidenhead: McCraw-Hill. Available online via Library Catalogue.
Weeks, J. (2009) Sexuality. London: Routledge. Available online via Library Catalogue.
For the broader theoretical context in which gender and sexuality should be understood, see:
Heaphy, B. (2007) Late Modernity and Social Change: Reconstructing Social and Personal Life. London: Routledge. (especially chapters on Identity and Relationships] Available online via Library Catalogue.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Petra Nordqvist||Unit coordinator|
Tuesday 14:00 - 16:00, plus a separate one-hour tutorial (range of times available)