POLIS 2102 - Politics of Gender & Sexuality

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

The course will provide a comprehensive, accessible and lively overview of key frameworks, debates and policy issues in the expanding fields of Gender and Sexuality Studies in a national and international context. Gender and Sexuality are crucial, interrelated, aspects of human life and are critical to understandings of forms of power in societies. Moreover, ideas in these fields are decidedly at the `cutting edge? of contemporary socio-political thought and public policy. Yet issues of gender and sexuality are often equated with either women or non-heterosexual issues. By contrast, this course attends to Feminist, Masculinity and Sexuality Studies, and considers gender and sexuality in terms of citizenship and identity as they impact on the lives of men and women across the world. The course will firstly deal with theoretical frameworks and debates, including constructions of gender, the significance of biology, the `sex wars? in contemporary culture, theorising pleasure/desire, the interrelationship between gender and sexual identities, and the treatment of gender and sexuality within media and popular cultural forms such as film. Secondly, the course will consider a range of international questions (such as human rights, global legal matters, and media representations), as well as national concerns (such as issues of political representation, sexual education and heterosexuality, same-sex marriage, and transgender identities). The aim is to provide a short but thorough guide to these two interrelated fields.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 2102
    Course Politics of Gender & Sexuality
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible POLI 2102
    Assessment Participation (20%), 1500 word short paper (30%), 3000 word major essay (50%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Emerita Professor Christine Beasley

    Professor Chris Beasley is the coordinator for POLIS 2102. Professor Carol Johnson is co-teacher for the course.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The two lectures for POLIS 2102 are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am. 
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. Provide students with a critical introduction to the major concepts and debates encountered in socio-political thinking relating to gender and sexuality
    2. Ensure students are aware of a range of approaches to the topics under discussion enabling them to reflect critically on the character of political concepts and issues
    3. Help students to increase their ability to develop and express their viewpoints, both orally and in writing and to engage confidently in public debate
    4. Ensure students have a solid grounding in essay writing and tutorial participation
    5. Build students’ capacity to undertake independent research in the field of gender and sexuality studies
    6. Develop students’ ability to produce analytically sophisticated, well substantiated and cogently argued written material
    7. Express oral arguments in a way that demonstrates a tolerance for other points of view and an understanding of different life experiences and personal sensitivities.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2, 5,6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Students are required to make use of the POLIS 2102 CourseGuide, which will be available online and available for purchase in hardcopy. Students are strongly recommended to purchase the hardcopy in order to have a full set of the Set Readings for the course. 
    Recommended Resources
    The CourseGuide/Reader entails a collection of Set Readings for the course. Additional readings will be recommended during the course in the context of specific topics.
    Online Learning
    Lectures will be recorded and placed online. The course materials and assessment activities will also be online.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course involves Lectures and Tutorials which make use of face-to-face and online resources and activities. The tutorials also include SGDE (small group discovery experiences) involving discussing and presenting materials in small groups which are maintained throughout the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 x 1-hour lectures per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour tutorial per week 12 hours per semester
    6 hours reading per week 72 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    TOTAL = 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    WEEK 1
    July 25:
    Orientation lecture—overview of structure and assessment
    July 27:
    Understanding the field (terms, definitions, etc)

    August 1
    Gender: does it still matter?
    Aug 3
    Gender and Sexuality: distinct but overlapping fields

    August 8:
    Sexuality and political theory 
    August 10:

    WEEK 4
    August 15:
    Debates 1: Nature to Social Construction  
    August 17:
    Heteronormativity and Queer theory

    WEEK 5
    August 22:
    Debates 2: Sex wars—‘ sex critical' 
    August 24:
    Sex wars—‘pro-sex'

    WEEK 6
    August 29:
    Studying Sex: sex research, results in Australia
    August 31:
    HeteroSex in Popular culture: porn and romance on film 

    WEEK 7
    September 5:
    GLBTI and Popular culture: representations in film and tv 
    Sept 7:
    Gender and Popular culture: women on screen 

    WEEK 8
    Sept 12
    Policy 1: Marriage law 
    Sept 14
    Policy 2: Heteronormative Citizenship 

    Mid Semester Break Sept Monday 18-Friday 29
    ESSAY due Monday Sept 25th

    WEEK 9
    October 3:
    Policy 3a Comparative Politics of same-sex relations 
    October 5:
    Policy 3b Comparative Politics of same-sex relations 

    WEEK 10
    Oct 10:
    Policy 4: Sexual health 
    Oct 12:
    Policy 4: Sexual health ed/promotion

    WEEK 11
    Oct 17:
    Policy 5: Prostitution and law 
    Oct 19:
    Policy 6: Pornography 

    WEEK 12
    Oct 24:
    Current issues around gender and work
    Oct 26:
    New directions: gendered and sexual bodies, intimacies and ‘utopias’ 

    13 Oct 29:
    NO LECTURE—Consultations Oct 31:
    NO LECTURE—Consultations
    No tutorial

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    This course involves ongoing small group work (4-6 students) within the tutorial context in which students analyse, discuss, debate and verbally present material in groups and that activity is included as summative assessment within the existing tutorial participation mark, and formally named as a SGDE component,
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    1500 word short paper - 30% weighting 

    3000 word essay: major research essay  - 50% weighting

    Participation: students engage in interaction in class activities and sharing of materials and information, including SGDE - 20% weighting.

    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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