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Unit of study_

GCST3631: Gender, Communities and Belonging

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

In this unit students will apply advanced methods from gender and cultural studies to examine experiences of belonging and formations of community. Students will analyse how power produces and regulates communities, identities and belonging. They will question the assumption that community is based on the unity and similarity of citizens and their location in specific cultures and places, and critically examine alternatives such as difference, diaspora, and other forms of sociality. Students will evaluate different theories of community in local, national and international contexts, and in relation to feminism, democracy, cosmopolitanism and hospitality.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GCST3631
Academic unit Gender and Cultural Studies
Credit points 6
GCST2613 or GCST2611
12 credit points at 2000 level in Gender Studies or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Cultural Studies or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Diversity Studies
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Paul Kelaita,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Tutorial participation
10% - n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4
Assignment Take-home exercise
Long Answer/Essay
20% Formal exam period
Due date: 08 Jun 2020 at 23:59
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Critical Response Task
2x Short Answer
30% Week 06
Due date: 01 Apr 2020 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Research essay/project
Long Answer/Essay
40% Week 11
Due date: 13 May 2020 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

All Assessment tasks are compulsory and must be attempted in order to pass the course. 

  • Critical Response task: You will be asked to provide a 750 word critical response to two questions. There will be a choice of questions. You will be expected to both identify and address the central arguments and to evaluate those arguments, showing reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with those arguments, providing examples.
  • Research essay/project: You are asked apply the broad theories that contribute to our understanding of community from the first section of the course to a discrete area or formulation of the community from the second section of the course. It is recommended that you focus on particular cultural texts (films, novels, magazines, television shows, news segments), however you may also choose to do a more philosophical essay.
  • Take-home exercise: This will involve approaching the theories, in either support or critique of the formulation of the community to date. Whilst the questions will draw upon the course as a whole, the questions will make some specific reference to the theoretical and critical perspectives examined in the third section of the course. 
  • Tutorial participation: Besides attending lectures and tutorials, which are a requirement for passing the course, you are also expected to have completed the set readings and to be prepared to discuss these in tutorials, including leading the discussion in one specific week.

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

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


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.

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 Introduction to key concepts and unit overview Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 02 Community and the Social Contract Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 The Sexual Contract Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Communitarianism and Uses of Community Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 Community and the Nation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 06 Community and the Neighbourhood Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 07 Conflict and Difference Independent study (2 hr)  
Week 08 Cultural Identity, Home and Diaspora Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 Cosmopolitanism and Mobility Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 10 Contesting Queer Spaces Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Indigenous Belonging and Place Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 12 Hospitality Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 13 Refusal Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: students 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 which will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture Recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • 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

Detailed class schedule and reading list visible on Canvas to anyone with a unikey 

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. develop skills in critical interpretation of texts and debates
  • LO2. understand recent debates about community and social formation, and especially feminist interventions into these debates
  • LO3. develop analytical and problem-solving skills through consideration of current events and theoretical issues raised in the course
  • LO4. develop verbal and written communication skills through discussion in tutorials and written assessments
  • LO5. practice group work through tutorial participation.

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 UoS has incorporated feedback received from students in 2017, 2018, and 2019, primarily in regards to particular texts and content across the semester. Adjustments to assessment structure have also been made.


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

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