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Unit of study_

GCST2610: Intimacy, Love and Friendship

Semester 2, 2022 [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 Jessica Kean,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment hurdle task Final Essay
40% Formal exam period
Due date: 14 Nov 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 25 Nov 2022
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8
Participation Tutorial Participation
Mark for engagement, preparation and participation.
10% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO7
Assignment hurdle task Tutorial Prep - Summaries
Short summaries of 4 required readings.
20% Week 05
Due date: 02 Sep 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 30 Sep 2022
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO5 LO4
Assignment hurdle task First Essay
Short essay based on the first 8 weeks.
30% Week 09
Due date: 07 Oct 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 30 Nov 2022
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

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 Prep – Summaries: The Tutorial Prep – Summary exercise will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of required readings from the first 5 weeks of the unit.
  • First Essay: Students will have a choice of questions. Questions will be distributed in lectures and online by week 6. . 

  • Final Essay: Students will have a choice of essay questions. These will be distributed in lectures and online by week 10.

Detailed information for each assessment will be made available 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 How to study love Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO8
Week 02 Intimate Norms Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 03 'Compulsory' Intimacies Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 04 Intimate Infrastructures (case study: apps & covid) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 05 Intimate Identities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 06 Working on love Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Week 07 Heteropessimism? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 08 Making Families Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 09 PUBLIC HOLIDAY - Reading/Film Week (see canvas) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO6 LO8
Week 10 Rethinking Friendship Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Representing Polyamory Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Week 12 Vulnerability, Care & The Nation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 13 Workshop, Review and Consultations Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8

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 is available through the ‘Reading List’ link on canvas.

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.

The teachers of this unit always adjust the readings after reflection on the learning experience in the previous session and taking into account feedback from the students. We appreciate the time students take to give feedback and will always strive to use that feedback to make this unit great.


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.