Foundations in Gender and Sexuality Studies

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
24 August 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA L32112 Gender and Sexuality Studies,
MA L32124 Gender and Sexuality Studies

Module description

This module seeks to ground students in the interdisciplinary theories that have been essential to feminist theory, queer theory, and the study of gender and sexuality more broadly.

In this respect, the course proceeds both thematically and chronologically, covering some of the 'canonical' feminist and queer interventions and methods, such as rights-based liberal feminism; radical feminism; Black feminism; Marxist feminism; standpoint epistemology; transnational feminism; ecofeminism; intersectionality; AIDS & LGBT activism; queer theory; and trans studies. But, by approaching these texts through contemporary and transportable concepts (like 'borders', 'pandemics', 'mothers,' 'environments', and 'the gaze') we will emphasize the enduring relevance of these foundational texts for making sense of current social experiences and cultural objects. The course would conclude with a political meditation on the transformative potential of queer and trans media and cultural production through trans performance artist Mykki Blanco's recitation of Zoe Leonard's "I Want a Dyke for President" (2016). In this final class session, we would juxtapose Blanco's performance with our second text, Beyoncé's "Flawless," as a way of considering their different political aspirations and thus of charting the distance travelled throughout the course.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

1. To ensure students understand the differences between sex, gender, and sexuality
2. To introduce students to the canonical texts in feminist theory, queer theory, and gender and sexuality studies
3. To provide students with global and intersectional understandings of how gender and sexuality are shaped by different positionalities and identities, such as race, class, nationality, religion, and dis/ability
4. To expose students to multiple critical methods central to these fields, including Marxist feminism, Black feminism, queer theory, psychoanalytic feminism, standpoint epistemology, feminist philosophy of science, ecofeminism, etc
5. To foster in students a critical awareness of gender and sexuality as social constructs
6. To enable students to apply theory to everyday cultural objects, including visual culture and film

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will have:

1. A working knowledge of the key methods and movements foundational to feminist theory, queer theory, and GSS broadly
2. A thorough understanding of how gender and sexuality are socially, historically, and politically constructed, both locally and globally
3. Familiarity with how gender and sexuality intersect with formations of class, race, family, labor, environment, normativity, objectivity, capital, colonialism, politics, and health.
4. The ability to compare, evaluate, and contrast key methods and debates in gender and sexuality studies
5. An understanding of the impact of gender and sexuality on daily life
6. An awareness of the multi-disciplinarity of gender and sexuality studies and an understanding of different analytic styles, methods, and objects.

Module information

Indicative syllabus:

Origin Stories: Rights & Equalities
The Unconscious
The Gaze
Power & Pleasure
Borders: Transnational Feminism & Globalization
Environments: Ecofeminism, Nature, & the Politics of Land
Pandemics: AIDS, Mourning, & LGBTQ Activism
Queer & Now?
Transgender, Trans-generation: "Be an academic guerrilla"

Learning and teaching methods

19x 2 hour per week seminars


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Reflective Report 1    10% 
Coursework   Reflective Report 2    10% 
Coursework   Reflective Report 3    10% 
Coursework   Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies - Keyword glossary    70% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Carolyn Laubender, email:
Dr Carolyn Laubender Room 5A.202



External examiner

Dr James Burford
Warwick University
Assistant Professor of Global Education and International Development
Available via Moodle
Of 38 hours, 38 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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