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Unit of study_

GCST2610: Intimacy, Love and Friendship

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit examines the representation and practices of intimate relations focusing especially on the intersection between intimacy and constructions of gender. Divided into three sections, the unit will examine theories of love and friendship, contemporary cultural representations of love, desire and friendship, and the ethics and politics of erotics. This unit will also examine new technologies of intimacy, and discuss their implications for gender and sexuality.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GCST2610
Academic unit Gender and Cultural Studies
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 1000 level in Gender Studies
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Grace Sharkey,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Final Essay
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 22 Nov 2021 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Participation Tutorial Participation
10% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO7
Assignment Tutorial Reflection
10% Ongoing 500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO5
Assignment First Essay
30% Week 06
Due date: 17 Sep 2021 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3

Assessment summary

  • Tutorial Participation: This unit has a Tutorial Participation grade. There are several ways to show participation in this course. You must come to lectures and tutorials. You must do the compulsory readings and come to class ready to discuss and ask questions. A reminder that asking for help or voicing confusion in the classroom is a great way to participate in class. Particpation in group discussion is also highly regarded. This course has an online component and your participation on online boards through the Canvas site will also be taken into account. We also reward active listening and academic generosity more broadly.
  • Tutorial Reflection: The Tutorial Reflection is an exercise that will give you the opportunity to reflect on the readings for one week of the course in greater detail. You will also be expected to come to tutorials on your designated week with a question/questions to lead the class discussion. At the start of semester, students will choose a topic from the course outline that is of interest to them.

    During your chosen week, read the set texts, come to the lecture and help lead tutorial discussion in small groups (this is not a public speaking exercise). You will then write 500 words describing what you have learned about the topic. You will be assessed on how well you summarise the week’s set reading/readings (in your own words), and how you relate the topic to examples either in class or in contemporary culture. You will be rewarded for critically engaging with the material and by how well you express your ideas. This assessment is due within one week of your chosen topic (i.e. by the following Monday) and must be lodged via Turnitin by 11.59pm that night.

  • First Essay: Students will have a choice of questions. Questions will be distributed in lectures and online in week 3. Questions will be based on material covered in weeks 1-5 inclusive. 

  • Final Essay: Students will have a choice of essay questions. These will be distributed in lectures and online in week 10. Essay topics will be based on readings from weeks 6-12.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date: Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date. After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Politics of Love Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 Intimate Publics and Sexual Citizenship Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 Being Single Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Meeting Someone Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 Falling in Love Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 06 In the Bedroom Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 07 Moving In Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 08 Getting Married Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 Having Kids Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 10 Having Friends Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 11 Love and the Nation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 12 Love as Method Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Lecture recording: Most lectures will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your learning experience – attend zoom sessions live whenever possible.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

A full list of required readings will be provided through the unit’s eReserve.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand theories of intimacy, sexuality and friendship within gender and cultural studies
  • LO2. apply critical skills to interdisciplinary representations of intimacy, love and friendship
  • LO3. evaluate public debates and concerns about intimacy, sexuality and friendship
  • LO4. understand the relationship between intimacy, subjectivity and the public sphere
  • LO5. demonstrate research, writing and oral communication skills through a variety of assessment tasks
  • LO6. demonstrate independent thinking and interpretation
  • LO7. demonstrate group work skills through discussion in tutorials
  • LO8. demonstrate self-directed learning skills through reflection exercises and meeting deadlines.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This format of the assessments has been changed as a result of student feedback from 2019 (as well as some changes necessary due to covid19). The teaching staff for this unit really appreciate all student feedback and take it into account when developing material for the following year.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.