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GEND401 Debates in Gender and Sexuality

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Examines several contemporary debates in the study of gender and sexuality. In relation to each debate, we ask what it means to explore the links between larger intellectual or political ideas and more intimate, personal domains.

Each year in this paper we examine two or three debates in the study of gender and sexuality. Our approach is interdisciplinary, drawing from gender studies, sociology, political theory, history, textual analysis, anthropology, philosophy and beyond.

Section One explores key debates in gender and sexuality with a focus on language. We will explore how legal narratives both reflect and construct normative gender roles. We will also explore how narrative and metaphor can be used to challenge and trouble normative boundaries, and how digital media offers new mechanisms for both the policing of and resistance to traditional gender representations.

Section Two explores gender, sexuality, and society through international perspectives to connect and contrast local and global frameworks and productions of knowledge. Drawing on Western and non-Western theoretical and empirical research, this section focuses on recent and ongoing debates that have started to reshape the contour and content of gender, sexuality, and queer studies in the changing social, cultural, economic, (geo)political, and technological landscapes in the 2020s.

Paper title Debates in Gender and Sexuality
Paper code GEND401
Subject Gender Studies
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,174.57
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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72 300-level GEND points
(i) Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Programme Co-ordinator. (ii) May not be credited together with ANTH411 passed in 2005 or 2006.
Open to students who have gained entry to GEND Honours or students from Honours in related fields who wish to substitute the paper for one in their major. The paper often includes an interdisciplinary group, which creates very lively discussion.

Teaching staff

Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Dr Fairleigh Gilmour
Lecturer: Dr John Wei

Teaching Arrangements
There is a 3-hour seminar each week.

There is no textbook. Students are expected to read the set readings and range beyond them in their wider reading.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will

  • Gain critical understanding of the debates in contemporary theorising around gender, sexuality and nation
  • Develop confidence and experience in carrying out independent research in oral and written forms
  • Be prepared for further study and research in gender and sexuality

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 9-15, 17-22