Gender, Sexuality and Society

Contemporary women’s and men’s lives are vastly different from previous generations, yet there are certain patterns of inequality, gender difference, and normative sexuality that continue to be reproduced. This course explores and interrogates the workings of gender and sexuality in contemporary society by considering a range of sociological and feminist explanations. The focus is on multiple formations of gender, sexuality, identity and embodiment. The course will analyse power relations among women (differentiated by class, ‘race’, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality) as well as between men and women. The course is taught in workshop format and involves lively debate and lectures and analysis of readings, films, images and news and popular media. In term 2 you complete and present a group project based on independent research.

The course is divided into 4 thematic sections.

  1. Formations of Gender(s) and Sexualities , including emphasis on the social construction of bodies and identities and introducing key debates and the work of feminist and queer theorists.
  2. Intersectionalities 1, is a series of lectures/workshops about how gender and sexuality are performed within and through everyday spaces and materials of difference and inequality, for example technology, childbirth and medicine.
  3. Intersectionalities 2, considers how gender and sexuality intersect with other identity categories, such as class and religious identity.
  4. Citizenship, considering contemporary feminist and queer approaches to, for example, marriage, intimacy practices and the military.

You will have the opportunity to: 1) learn skills in reading, analysing, and critically evaluating theories of gender difference and inequality; 2) to practice formulating your own sociological questions about gender and sexuality; 3) develop your skills in group work and oral presentation.