Skip to main content

Unit information: The Body, Gender and Religion in 2021/22

Unit name The Body, Gender and Religion
Unit code THRS20192
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Sutcliffe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Gender and the human body are key aspects in understanding ritual and devotion in Christianity. They are evident in images of the divine or in a religion’s refusal to depict the divine; in the control and maintenance of the body through asceticism, sexual regulations, dietary restrictions, and other practices; in questions of clothing and leadership; and in many other areas. This unit will explore these issues by focusing on early and pre-modern Christianity; but contemporary Christianity as well as other religious traditions will be considered.


To introduce students to the main elements of religious asceticism and its relation to gender.

To provide a framework for analysing and evaluating critically a wide range of arguments advanced by historians and theologians relating to asceticism and gender

To develop critical interaction with primary and secondary materials.

To develop oral and written presentation skills through the course assessment.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of what are the main elements of religious asceticism and its relation to gender;
  2. critically evaluate a wide range of arguments advanced by historians and theologians relating to asceticism and gender;
  3. present, analyse and evaluate complex ideas and arguments in written form;
  4. demonstrate analytical skills suitable for level I/5 as demonstrated in their formal assessments;
  5. demonstrate an independent approach to designing, researching and completing a level-I project.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback. 

Assessment Information

1 x 2000 word portfolio (formative) [ILOs 1-4] 

1 x 2500 word essay (100%) [1-5] 


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. THRS20192).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.