A History of Sexualities

Subject 671-373 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours/week , 6 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of second-year history, or second-year gender studies.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Prof Joy Damousi


Professor Joy Damousi


Subject Overview: How has sexual identity and practice been understood, represented and expressed from the late 19th to the present? This subject will analyse these themes with particular attention to theories of sexuality from the sexologists to Freud, feminism and queer theory. It will also explore the history of heterosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, and gay and lesbian movements. On completion of this subject, students should understand the ways in which sexuality both has a history, and is contested.
  • understand the ways in which sexual identity is historically constructed;
  • understand how feminist debates have theorised the intersection between sexuality, race, class and gender;
  • be able to use bibliographical and research skills to locate and gather information;
  • be able to reflect critically on the ways in which meanings of sexuality are historically constructed.
Assessment: A research essay of 2500 words 50% (due mid semster) and a reflective essay of 1500 words 40% (due end of semester). Tutorial participation 10%. Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts:
A subject reader will be available at beginning of semester
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:
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources;
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion.
Notes: This is a core subject for the interdisciplinary program in gender studies.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies Major
Gender Studies
History Major

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