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MA Gender, Sexuality and Culture / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Gender, Sexuality and Culture

Unit code ENGL60971
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

When and why did we think about organizing knowledge practices around the constructions of gender and sexuality?  What are the differences between the sexed body and gender, or gender and sexuality, and what's to be gained by thinking about these concepts as interrelated?  How have feminist and queer theorists shaped the ways we understand the self and the other, the social, cultural, political, and historical?  Can the identities, communities, categories, and binaries we create also become our prison house? These are a few of the difficult but fascinating questions we will explore together in this discussion-intensive, theory-based, cross-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary postgraduate seminar open to MA students only.  We will trace several key developments in the study of gender and sexuality by reading and discussing a wide range of classic and recent works, focusing particularly on epistemological concerns'that is, how we know what we know. 

This MA module is organized as a participatory and collegial seminar, and not as a conventional (undergraduate) lecture course in which one person alone (a lecturer) provides a body of knowledge that other people (students) write down.  Instead our seminar will be guided by feminist pedagogical practices, which means that each of us will study the readings with great care in advance of our meeting, and then be ready to discuss the readings with others in an active and engaged way.

 

PART ONE  MAPPING THE FIELD(S):  politics /  history  /  theory
Week 1 BEGINNINGS
Week 2 RADICAL FEMINISTS / LGBT RIGHTS ACTIVISTS
Week 3 GENDER, SEXUALITY AND HISTORY
Week 4 GENDER THEORY
Week 5 FEMINIST QUEER THEORY
Week 6 READING WEEK: no seminar meeting

PART TWO     CONVERSATIONS
Week 7 QUEERING THE NORMAL: Alison Bechdel's Fun Home (2006)
Week 8 HOMOPHOBIA / TOLERANCE:  "Victim" (dir. Basil Dearden, 1961)
Week 9 SEXUAL IDENTITIES AND IDENTIFICATION(S)
Week 10 INTERSEXUALITY: "XXY" (dir. Lucía Puenzo,2007)
Week 11  QUEER FUTURES: TEMPORALITIES AND AFFECT
Week 12 WRITERS WORKSHOP / PRESENTATIONS

Aims

To consider a range of critical key concepts essential for understanding gender and sexuality within culture

To encourage students to think critically about the ways in which historical, theoretical, and cultural texts mediate social change within modernity in relation to gender and sexuality

To understand important and ongoing debates by leading theorists of gender and sexuality by undertaking close analysis of a range of cultural texts

To engage in the critical analysis of new developments in feminist and queer theories

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
demonstrate an awareness of the diverse theoretical debates on questions relating to gender and sexuality

demonstrate how theories around gender and sexuality work within larger processes of social, historical and cultural change

Intellectual skills
Demonstrate an ability to read closely and critically in the light of the contextual and theoretical knowledge developed

Practical skills
work in a seminar-setting as participants and discussion leaders

Transferable skills and personal qualities
construct and defend complex arguments through textual evidence, both in writing and in seminar discussions

Assessment methods

Essay 1 30%
Essay 2
40%
Essay 3 30%

 

Recommended reading

H. Abelove, M.A. Barale, D. Halperin, eds. Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (1993)
B. Beemyn and M. Eliason, eds. Queer Studies (1996)
J. Butler, Gender Trouble (1990)
J. Butler, Bodies That Matter (1993)
K. Conboy, N. Medina, S. Stanbury, eds. Writing on the Body (1997)
M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish (1979)
M. Foucault, History of Sexuality, vols. 1-3, (1979-88)
E. Grosz, Volatile Bodies (1994)
J. Halberstam, Female Masculinity (1998)
J. Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place (2005)
S. Jackson and S. Scott, eds. Gender: A Sociological Reader (2002)
A. Jagose, Queer Theory: An Introduction (1996)
R. N. Lancaster and M. Di Leonardo, eds. The Gender/Sexuality Reader (1997)
T. Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1992)
A. Medhurst and S. R. Munt, eds. Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Critical Introduction (1997)
T. T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing, Postcoloniality and Feminism (1989)
T. T. Minh-Ha, When the Moon Waxes Red (1991)
T. Moi, What is a Woman? And Other Essays (1999)
R. A. Nye, Sexuality (1999)
E. K. Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet (1990)
A. F. Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (2001)
M. Storr, ed. Bisexuality: A Critical Reader (1999)
N. Sullivan, A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory (2003)
M. Warner, ed. Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory (1993)
E. Weed and N. Schor, eds. Feminism Meets Queer Theory (1997)
J. Weeks, Sexuality (1986).
Donald E. Hall and Annamarie Jagose (eds), The Routledge Queer Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 2013

Required texts

- Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006)
- Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction (1976)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 256

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Laura Doan Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Core module for MA Gender, Sexuality, and Culture.


All students pursuing MA-level work are welcome regardless of academic background or level of preparation. 

Please note: no auditors.  This module is NOT open to PhD students

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