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Unit information: Law Gender and Sexuality in 2016/17

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Unit name Law Gender and Sexuality
Unit code LAWDM0033
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Katie Cruz
Open unit status Open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will consider the following: feminist and masculinities theories as well as theories of sexuality as they relate to law. Other topics vary from year to year but can, for example, include: female suffrage campaigns; regulating the body; family law; reproduction; human rights; pornography; employment; legal reasoning; male violence).).

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

  • explain the basic theories of sex, gender, etc.;
  • explain the relevance of these theories to legal studies;
  • explain the application of these theories to specific topic areas studied - to understand and explain the different approaches to sex and gender, etc. (e.g. essentialist and social constructionist) and discuss them in relation to, for example, criminal law and criminal justice and other topics studied;
  • explain and analyse theories of masculinities and femininities and sexualities in general as well as in the context of specific topics like the family and family law;
  • to critically assess both theories and the law and discuss potential solutions to any problems with current law and social policy, including the usefulness or otherwise of law reform.

This unit is also intended to improve benchmark skills – specifically research skills.

Teaching Information

This unit is taught by way of 10 lectures (approx.), 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions. Lectures are delivered jointly to students on the related undergraduate unit.

Assessment Information

Summative: 2 x 3000 word essays (50% each) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

  • Helena Kennedy Eve was Framed (Vintage: London, 2005);
  • Carol Smart Feminism and the Power of Law (London: Routledge, 1989);
  • Rosemary Hunter, Claire. McGlynn, Erika Rackley (eds) Feminist Judgements: From Theory to Practice (Hart: London, 2010);
  • Joanne Conaghan Gender and Law (Oxford: OUP, 2013);
  • Lois Bibbings Binding Men: Stories About Violence and Law in Late Victorian England (London: Routledge, 2014);
  • Joanne Conaghan and Yvette Russell (2014) ‘Rape myths, law, and feminist research: "myths about myths"?’ Feminist 'Legal Studies 22(1), 25-48.