Sex, Race, Species and Social Justice

Subject UNIB30007 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5-hours per week plus occasional film screenings (2.5-hours)
Total Time Commitment:






Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

800-303 Sex, Race and Social Justice; UNIB30007 Sex, Race and Social Justice

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 Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Jeanette Hoorn

Subject Overview:

This subject will investigate how sex and race influence the operation of social justice in everyday life. We begin by examining the origins of the concept of social justice in classical texts such as Plato’s Republic before considering the emergence of international movements for social justice, such as universal suffrage, the abolition of slavery and the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, before considering the impact of the concept of social justice in contemporary culture. In particular, we consider how sex and race relate to social justice and how this relationship is manifested in the humanities as well as in legal and medical discourses in Australia. We will examine the key biological, social, political and cultural factors that inform social justice in such areas as: personal and sexual relationships; freedom of expression; equity in the workplace; health; social change and the media in the twenty-first century. We examine new developments in medicine, law, literature and film and philosophy as well as the way in which globalisation impacts upon issues of social justice. The subject explores the work of national and international organizations that attempt to improve the lives of those who face discrimination because they do not conform to the dominant norms of gender, race and ethnicity. We look at the failures within the human rights movement and criticisms that have emerged over the last century. The representation of social justice in film and the novel forms a special focus as we consider Europe’s involvement in Africa through JM Coetzee’s Disgrace and John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardener.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject should develop:

  • a sound understanding of the subject’s key concepts (social justice, race, sexuality);
  • an awareness of the crucial importance of approaching knowledge from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.
  • 1 x oral tutorial presentation equivalent to 500 words done during the semester (10%)
  • 1 x class paper of 1500 words, due during the semester (40%)
  • 1 research essay of 2000 words due in the examination period (50%).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance, regular participation in tutorials are required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the University bookshop and a comprehensive online database of reference materials will be available through the LMS.

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 complete this subject should be able to:

  • conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments, and communicate critically, theoretically, creatively and economically through, essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • engage in cross-disciplinary thinking and learning through incorporating methodologies from the humanities, social sciences, law and medicine in relation to a common theme driving research;
  • conduct research through the competent use of libraries and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • relate knowledge across different disciplines from the humanities, social sciences, law and medicine;
  • manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, essays and assignments;
  • think creatively and express their ideas clearly in written and verbal communication.

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