Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
The MA in Gender and Women’s Studies is a taught postgraduate degree which will deepen your perspectives on gender studies and feminism.
As a student on this programme you will gain a thorough knowledge of the key debates and authors within Gender and Women’s Studies as well as the opportunity to develop specialist interests and key research skills. Core modules will take you through the intellectual traditions, concepts and politics which have shaped the evolution of Women’s Studies inside and outside the academy, and will give you the methodological confidence to do your own research.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
This module introduces you to the practicalities and philosophies of doing interdisciplinary research in gender and women’s studies. You will learn to interpret, understand and explore the consequences of particular research methods and will be encouraged to consider the relationship between theories and methods in research.
The module also provides scope for reflecting on the politics of knowledge, the ethics of research, and the relationship between disciplines and interdisciplinary fields such as gender and women’s studies. You will learn how some key conceptual frameworks within feminism (for example, sex and gender, body politics, sexual difference, queer) have been constructed over time through both research practices and theoretical arguments.
This module will be useful as preparation for your own research later in the programme and particularly for your Masters dissertation.
How are gender, sex and bodies understood in contemporary sociology and feminist theory? How do feminist theorists and social scientists address questions of difference, representation and performativity in their research? What kinds of methods are used to research sex, gender and bodies?
In this module we engage in depth with the work of particular theorists (enabling you to acquire skills in close reading) and we explore current issues of importance to feminism. These include girlhood and sexualisation, gender and work, race and racism, and sex and sexuality.
The essays you write then give you scope to follow your own interests in more depth by using the reading lists provided and undertaking independent research.
In this module, you will examine historical approaches to a variety of sources, from the visual (or audio visual), to the aural, oral and artefactual. Whatever period you are studying, you will be able to investigate material relevant to your own research: in the past, the module has covered the gamut from ancient Rome to the modern day, and the sources you investigate will be tailored to suit the specialisms of your cohort. Over the course of the module you will deepen your familiarity with the range of sources available, and be able to analyse how non-traditional sources have been approached by historians. The knowledge and skills you learn will provide insights into how you can approach such sources within your own research; indeed, you will have the opportunity to pursue a coursework topic that relates to your chosen area of historical investigation.
Preliminary/core reading: Sarah Barber and Corinna Peniston Bird (eds.), History beyond the Text: A Student's Guide to approaching alternative Sources (Routledge, 2009).
Taught: Michaelmas Term
Assessment: Essay (5,000 words).
This module seeks to explore textual constructions of nineteenth-century urban spaces and those who inhabit them. What does it mean to live in the city in the nineteenth century and what might the city mean to its inhabitants and to the English population at large? We will consider the ways in which different types of space - the street, the graveyard, the house – are meaningful as well as the different ways more general conceptions of ‘the city’ are articulated across the century. We will pay attention to issues such as mobility, transport, technology, Englishness, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion, and we will engage with different theories of space and place (by authors such as Simmel, Heidegger, Bachelard and Massey). Throughout the course we will address the relationship between representation and place and how different types of imaginative literature present their urban spaces.
This module examines the ways in which different social theoretical perspectives approach their objects. It focuses on three main topics: an investigation of the nature of the object of social theory, that is, the social; key issues in contemporary social theory; and the relationship between social theory, modernity and postmodernity.
In this module you will look at the possible long-term effects of information and communications technology (ICT) on human society.
You will do this by critically exploring the beliefs and claims of different ‘cybercultures’ – social and cultural movements, each of which promotes a particular vision of the future premised on the radically transformative potential of ICT.
You will explore a range of ‘cultural imaginaries’as manifested in popular culture, civil society, professional groups and scholarly writing. In these imaginaries, the development and spread of digital and networked technologies are seen as having revolutionary implications for social identities, political life and economic relations – or even for the essence or viability of human beings themselves.
These imaginaries involve narratives that range from the utopian to the apocalyptic – from cybercommunist and cyberfeminist visions of rejuvenated progressive politics to a postpolitical world run by algorithmic capitalism, or from transhumanist visions of digital immortality to dire warnings of machine super-intelligence replacing humanity.
Through lectures, seminar discussions, film screenings and debates, and drawing on sociology, media and cultural studies, science studies, philosophy and science fiction, you will learn about some of the most high-stakes questions about the future of society.
This independent research project gives you the opportunity to relate knowledge and techniques acquired from other Gender and Women's Studies modules to a research problem of your own choosing. The research can be library based or could involve other sorts of data collection (e.g. interviews, surveys, participant observation, analysis of cultural artefacts). The project could also include co-operation with an outside organisation.
This module examines the formal, historical, generic, cultural, intercultural, and interhistorical relationships between Victorian literature and other media, including painting, illustration, theatre, music, film, television, and new media.
This module explores the evolution of prose fiction from the late Romantic era through the first two decades of Victoria’s reign. A defining focus of the course will be on the ways in which the Victorian novel negotiates with Romantic legacies: the primacy of self, the necessity of intellectual and personal liberty and an ambivalence towards the past are crucial to the development of the genre. The historical frame of the course allows us to move from James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851), one of the first novels of the American ‘Renaissance’. We will consider the shaping presence of other genres in the development of nineteenth-century fiction, including spiritual autobiography and the long poem. Historical contexts will also be emphasised with particular reference to the religious and political debates of the period. We will explore the emergence of the novelist as a major cultural figure and interrogate the ways in which the writers under review both internalise and contest the ethical, spiritual and economic forces of their historical moment.
Current debates over issues such as genetically modified crops, nuclear power, shale gas, loss of biodiversity or climate justice – and the protest movements and campaigns that have arisen in response – provide tangible evidence that the relationship between society and the environment is a difficult and often controversial one.
This module examines the role that sociology and social theory can play in helping us to understand that relationship better, and explores the range of approaches that have been developed in environmental sociology.
Studying the environment sociologically opens up a host of interconnected social, cultural and political issues. Whose knowledge counts? How can we handle unquantifiable risk? What role should technology play? And what about democracy, freedom, diversity and justice?
Using lectures and seminar discussion, the module will lead you through the resources of sociology and social theory to enable you to think through these questions in relation to some of the most urgent environmental issues facing societies today. For example, what might ‘liveable cities’ look like in the future? Do biotechnologies provide solutions to world hunger, or not? How can governments make democratic decisions about the disposal of nuclear waste?
This module explores the social, ethical and political implications of science and technology, introducing you to the main theoretical and methodological approaches associated with science and technology studies (STS) and to the debates between them.
On this module you will acquire a thorough grounding in the history of STS through review and discussion of seminal texts and you will also be introduced to current approaches, using a varied mix of workshops, contemporary case studies, film screenings and two laboratory visits.
This enables us to explore how different theoretical approaches may be applied, and helps to build your understanding of how different approaches to analysis imply particular political and epistemological assumptions. You will also develop the capacity to criticise different approaches to STS, and gain the initial knowledge needed to develop and justify your own approaches.
Lancaster is home to the internationally recognised Centre for Science Studies and is a centre of excellence for STS research. On this module you will meet some of the key researchers in the field.
This module offers you the chance to engage with the work of some key social theorists influencing sociology today – particularly their views, implicit or explicit, on the role and nature of critique and values in social science, how they theorise our social nature, and power in social life.
We will address a number of major questions – for example, are so-called ‘critical’ approaches compatible with the idea of sociology as a social science? On what grounds can we develop critiques of society? If we are products of our social circumstances, what room, if any, does that leave for individual responsibility? How can we best theorise power? What can sociology tell us about neoliberalism?
Through examining such questions we aim to help you form your own judgement of how adequate these sociological theories are, and how they might usefully inform research. Sub-themes of the module include universalism, discourse, structure and agency.
This module runs as an intensive workshop over 4 days in the summer term. It offers an advanced introduction to feminist technoscience studies, focusing on theoretical and empirical developments, as well as key debates. It will ask what counts as ‘science’ and ‘technology’, how are they imagined and practiced, and how scientific and technological knowledges are produced, circulated, and deployed.
Theoretical debates will be introduced and investigated through a specific empirical topic, chosen each year to reflect the particular expertise of tutors for example feminism encounters biotechnology; feminism and the non-human; bodies, cyborgs and prostheses; genomics, kinship and kinds; virtual and affective technologies.
This module is designed to familiarise you with various ways of thinking about and analysing contemporary relations between science, technology and society. It draws upon a rich vein of theory and practice within science and technology studies (STS), an area of research that is particularly strong at Lancaster University.
You will be encouraged to ask sociologically informed questions about the sciences and technologies that have become part of our everyday lives – including, for example, mobile phones, social media, cloud computing, genetic modification, human fertilisation techniques, air conditioning and technologies for electricity generation.
The module helps you to understand how different interpretive research methodologies used in STS – such as ethnography and participant observation, surveys, and analysis of social media – enable a researcher to ask important critical questions about science, technology, the environment and society.
Through case studies chosen by students on the module you will consider how we might engage as analysts – using which methods and practices? In what kinds of role? With what kind of limitations? And with what kinds of responsibility and accountability?
This module introduces approaches to critical analysis of key forms of contemporary media and culture such as commodities, celebrities, platforms and different media forms and environments.
We will read and discuss recent and formative writings in cultural and media studies, allowing you to develop an understanding of key concepts such as subjectivity, platform, materiality, commodity, difference, value and power, and how they help us make sense of contemporary social life. You will also engage with analytical work on specific media platforms, products and practices, ranging from photographs and search engines to newspapers and reality TV.
Among the topics that we will explore are:
concepts of culture in relation to images, commodities and brands
popular culture, audiences and media practices associated with celebrity
contemporary digital media cultures, and their circulation and consumption
embodiment, differences, politics and identities amidst media change
The focus of this module is on helping you to think critically about gender-based violence – what causes it, and under what circumstances there is more or less of it.
We look at what counts as gender-based violence in social and gender theory as well as in empirical and policy studies. This will require you to engage critically with alternative ways of theorising and analysing the interconnections between gender and violence, and to consider what implications these could have for practice.
We will also investigate the links between gendered violence and the economy, governance and policy, civil society and other forms of violence.
In this module we consider a major theme in classical and contemporary sociology – capitalism and its crisis tendencies.
Topics for debate will include:
the nature of capitalism, its phases, varieties, and global articulation
whether capitalism is inherently prone to crisis, and what forms of crisis are characteristic of capitalism
the nature of the contemporary crisis in capitalism, its periodisation and temporalities, differences in its dynamics across so-called varieties of capitalism, and its broader economic, political, and socio-cultural repercussions
the question of whether capitalism is governable, crisis management, and crises of crisis management
This module examines the range and variety of contemporary British fiction. Its five subdivisions are designed to highlight the different ways in which the sense of time manifests itself in present-day fiction – from the minimalism of Cusk and McGregor’s 24-hour novels to the temporal panoramas of Barnes and Mitchell’s fragmented world histories -- and to foster debate about the contemporary novel’s complex relationship with its modernist and realist forebears.
This module – distinctive in its focus on the wider Middle East – explores twentieth and twenty-first century narrative texts by women writers, examining creative literary engagements with (post)colonial histories, societies and politics. Novels and memoirs are read alongside theory drawn from various disciplines – literary criticism, history, geography, sociology and anthropology. The texts represent a range of responses to colonialism, national identity, patriarchy, Islam, migration and transnationalism. Key themes are revolution; the female body in private and public space; violence; education; modes of resistance; memory; testimony; and the politics of representation.
This module addresses the ways that contemporary literature, film and television engage with the Gothic literary tradition. Focusing specifically on texts produced since 2000, it explores the continuing relevance of Gothic in contemporary culture. The module aims to demonstrate the diversity and increasing hybridity of contemporary Gothic and with this in mind, enquires what happens when Gothic cross-fertilises a range of other modes and genres including musical, soap opera, noir, documentary, comedy, science fiction and the historical novel. It examines how traditional Gothic personae from vampires and ghosts to guilty fathers and disturbed children may find new life in the twenty-first century, and how traditional Gothic spaces from the haunted house to the fairground may be refigured in postmodern British and American culture. Finally, it reflects on what critics mean when they talk about Gothic and the ways in which the term is put to work in both popular media and in academic criticism. The self-reflexively uncanny properties of books, films, DVDs and other media will be a central feature of many of the texts under discussion, foregrounding the echoes and continuities between Gothic and postmodern fictional forms.
Each seminar will be based around two parallel strands, covering literature and television/film from 2000 to the present day. Screenings of the relevant films/programmes will be timetabled during the week preceding the seminar. Students will find it useful to have some prior knowledge of Gothic literature and/or film, but this is not essential.
This module is concerned with texts that mix genres; in particular, such genres as critical essay, philosophical treatise, poetry, comic dialogue, fragment, novel, anecdote, manifesto, autobiography, history, textual commentary, and travelogue. Special attention will be paid to texts that blur the genre-boundary that, traditionally, separates critical writing from creative writing, and students will be invited, if they wish, to submit such texts themselves.
This module provides you with first-hand experience of organising and undertaking a group research project on a subject of your own choosing. You will work through processes of research design and strategy, developing research questions, planning and carrying out fieldwork and analysis, and presenting and evaluating research.
Working together in groups of four or five, you will produce a high-quality project report which could take various forms – for example, an article for publication, a multimedia website, or a report suitable for presentation to a funding body. You also make an oral presentation of your work.
Although the module is essentially practical, it also provides the opportunity for you to examine generic issues involved in doing social research and to learn about the contemporary context of research policy and funding.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Undergraduate Degree: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK or equivalent) in Sociology, Gender and Women’s Studies or related field
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualifications here: International Qualifications
English Language: IELTS - Overall score of at least 7.0, with no individual element below 6.0
We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes
Pre-sessional English language programmes available:
4 Week Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 6.0
10 Week Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5
Longer courses are not an option for this programme
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and Funding; Faculty Scholarships and Funding; Sociology Fees and Funding
Further information: For more information about the department please visit our webpages http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sociology/
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