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Unit information: The Cultural Imagination of Gender in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Cultural Imagination of Gender
Unit code MODLM0023
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Wells
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit provides students with an understanding of the theoretical debates which have shaped gender identities, both historically and within contemporary criticism. The unit analyses gender roles across a variety of nation states within and beyond Europe, as they are represented and indeed subverted through a series of spheres (aesthetic, cultural, social, and ideological). Drawing on a broad range of sources, from literary and visual material to socio-linguistics and political discourse, students will address how gender has been imagined, reproduced, and problematised both within and between different cultures. Using the MA's comparative approach, the unit engages with debates around feminism, masculinity, and the linguistic foundations of gender construction. Focal points will vary from year to year so as to accommodate staff research interests, asking how gender is formed through key cultural contexts, including literary writing, visual media, parenthood, political dissent, military conflict, and language.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

a) identify key issues and thinkers in the field of gender studies while engaging with debates in contemporary gender theory.

b) understand how to apply gender theory as an interpretive tool to specific cultural forms (e.g. literary fiction and political pamphlets).

c) investigate how constructions of gender vary within and across cultural borders.

d) evaluate the advantages and limitations of gender theory with respect to developing their intercultural knowledge.

Teaching Information

Seminar discussions

Assessment Information

5,000 word essay (testing ILOs a-d)

Reading and References

Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884)

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (1990)

Janet Holmes and Miriam Meyerhoff (eds.) The Handbook of Language and Gender (2003)

R. W. Connell, Masculinities (1995, 2nd ed. 2005)

Michael Kimmel, Misframing Men: the Politics of Contemporary Masculinities (2008)