Thinking Sex

Subject CULS30004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 hours: a 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

SCRN30003 Sex and the Screen; SCRN20012 Sex and the Screen; 106-243 Sex and the Screen; 106-367 Gender, Sexuality and Culture; 107-079 Sex and the Cinema

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the


Assoc Prof Fran Martin


Subject Overview:

How do we come to experience ourselves as having a gender and a sexual orientation? How do social constructions of gender relate to understandings of sexuality? How have categories like masculinity and femininity; heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality transformed over time? This subject approaches gender and sexuality as historically and culturally contingent rather than as natural expressions of a private self. It provides the historical and theoretical frameworks for understanding the rise of specific genders and sexualities in relation to available medical, psychoanalytic, philosophical, political and popular discourses. Drawing from recent formations in both feminism and queer studies, this subject engages with a diverse range of cultural texts from the proceedings of court cases to personal advertisements, from celebrity gossip columns to popular film. On completion of this subject students should be able to explicate the complex imbrications of gender and sexuality and to analyse the representation of gendered and sexual identities and desires in selected cultural texts, which may include television, film, Internet and print media.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have:

  • a well-developed ability to apply critical and analytical skills and methods to identifying the imbrications of gender and sexuality within the complex, changing contexts of contemporary cultural life, especially in the West but also to some extent in non-Western contexts;
  • a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of how contemporary gendered and sexual identities developed in the West as an aspect of cultural modernity;
  • Have developed a mastery of the central concepts and principles in key approaches to gender and sexuality in contemporary humanities scholarship (including post-structuralist feminism and queer theory), and contextualise this learning in relation to the discipline;
  • demonstrated high level analysis, conceptual sophistication and critical thinking on gender and sexuality, including on how these relate to other facets of social identity such as race, generation and nationality;
  • the ability to apply critical skills and methods to analyse the representation of gendered and sexual identities and desires in selected local and specific cultural texts across a range of forms and genres;
  • an appreciation of national and international debates on specific contemporary issues and complex problems connected with sexuality, with an awareness of the wider community.

A 1000 word LMS-based blogging assessment exercise 30% (done throughout the semester), a 1000 word essay 25% (due mid-semester), a 2000 word essah 45% (due in the examination period). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. All components of assessment must be completed in order to pass this subject

Prescribed Texts:

A Subject Reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should

  • acquire social, ethical, and cultural understanding of self and others through detailed analysis of contemporary culture in its various local, national and transnational contexts; the reception of new ideas and the contextualization of judgments; the adaptation of knowledge to new situations;
  • acquire critical analysis and synthesis through the study of competing theories of contemporary culture and their application to diverse examples; the engagement with and processing of different critical perspectives across the interdisciplinary field of cultural studies; the development of independent thought and arguments;
  • acquire effective written and oral communication through tutorial discussions and debates; the preparation and execution of written assessment exercises; exposure to and emulation of competing genres and protocols of critical writing;
  • acquire information management and information literacy through the practice of library and archival research; engagement with electronic databases;
  • acquire teamwork, flexibility, and tolerance through group discussions in tutorials; reception of new ideas and opinions; engaging and cooperating with other people from diverse backgrounds;
  • acquire time management and planning through managing and organizing workloads for recommended reading and assessment requirements.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Screen and Cultural Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Gender Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Screen and Cultural Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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