BA Archaeology and History

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Southern Crossings: Race, Gender and Sexuality

Course unit fact file
Unit code AMER20412
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit will examine patterns of intimate relationships between Southerners of European, African, Native American, and racially mixed heritage, from the earliest years of European settlement to the present day. It deploys sexuality, gender relations, and family structure as lenses through which to explore broader issues of race, gender identity, sexual orientations, class, and culture.



--To explore with students change and continuity in relation to issues of gender, race, sexuality, family life, and regional culture in the American South over the past four centuries;

--To develop students’ abilities of critical analysis through verbal and written discussion of a varied corpus of textual, visual, musical, and filmic sources related to the topics under study;

--To build upon students’ awareness of the constructed, contested, and mutually constitutive nature of categories of race, sexuality, and gender, particularly in relation to the history of the American South;

--To continue the development of students’ skills in relation to primary and secondary research, the formation of sustained and coherent arguments, and abilities in the writing and presentation of essays

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

A wide-ranging and detailed knowledge of the experiences of Southerners in relation to ideals and experiences in terms of the relationships between race, gender, and sexuality which have existed in that region from the onset of European settlement to the present;

Intellectual skills

The ability to understand and apply theories about and intersections between racial, gendered, and sexualized identities and experiences, as applied to a variety of historically specific contexts;

Practical skills

An ability to construct a cohesive and sustained written argument, supported by appropriate research in a variety of primary and secondary sources, and expressed in accordance with scholarly methods of presentation;

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Abilities in relation to location, analysis, and presentation of relevant materials, critical engagement with a variety of types of sources, drawing connections between disparate contexts, participation in group discussion, and time management.


Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate arguments and texts. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
Group/team working
Students taking this unit will be able to work courteously and constructively as part of a larger group.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
Students on this unit must take responsibility for their learning and are encouraged not only to participate in group discussions but to do so actively and even to lead those discussions.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Oral communication
Students taking this unit will be able to show fluency, clarity and persuasiveness in spoken communication.
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Portfolio (4 x 500 words) 50%
Essay 50%


Feedback methods

  • written feedback on essays 1 and 2
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

All course documents and some readings will be available via Blackboard

Kenneth Aslakson, “The ‘Quadroon-Placage’ Myth of Antebellum

New Orleans,” Journal of Social History 45 (2011)

E.J. Bellocq, Photographs from Storyville

Lydia Maria Child, The Quadroons

Steve Estes, I Am A Man!: Race, Manhood, and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Crystal A. Feimster, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of

Rape and Lynching

Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello

John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

Alecia P. Long, The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and

 Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920

Louisa Picquet, The Octoroon: A Tale of Southern Slave Life

James T. Sears, Lonely Hunters: An Oral History of Lesbian and Gay Southern Life, 1948-1968

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Natalie Zacek Unit coordinator

Additional notes


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