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Unit of study_

GCST3637: Cultural Politics of Difference

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

This unit follows a decolonial feminist ethics of learning through: (1) Complaining, (2) Caring and (3) Creating. We begin by exploring methodologies of complaint and critique through Indigenous, decolonial, postcolonial, critical race, and queer feminist scholarships. Second, we slow down to ask after and reflect on issues we care about in our diverse communities. Finally, we turn to modes of creating academic-activism, which could range from poetry to policy writing, cookbooks to comics, theatre to technology. From our classroom, we work in solidarity to bring to the attention of communities we belong to new proposals that will help us respond to challenges and injustices in the world.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GCST3637
Academic unit Gender and Cultural Studies
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 2000 level in Gender Studies or Cultural Studies
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Shawna Tang,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment group assignment Academic-activism presentation
Design a proposal or a response to a complex real world problem.
40% Multiple weeks 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Reading Reflection
Three short reading reflection responses, each about 500 words.
30% Multiple weeks 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Assignment Critical Reflection
A critical and reflexive piece on what you have learnt from the unit.
20% Week 13
Due date: 29 May 2020 at 12:09

Closing date: 29 May 2020
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Participation Participation
CANVAS participation and engagement.
10% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

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: Building a political life Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 02 Complaints: what’s the use? Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 03 Civility as political project Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 04 Critique as affirmative project Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 05 Care: what do we take for granted? Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 06 Care in activism Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 07 Care in research Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 08 Care and complicity Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 09 Creating: what proposals for our complex worlds? Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 10 Creating a political project Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 11 Creating a political project Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 12 Creating and reflecting Workshop (3 hr)  
Week 13 Unit review Workshop (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 (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.

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. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of cultural differences in contemporary social contexts, drawing on critical theories and methodologies.
  • LO2. Demonstrate strong knowledge of critical theories and methodologies that have been used to apprehend complex social and cultural realities.
  • LO3. Confidently apply knowledge of theoretical and methodological approaches to real-world concerns.
  • LO4. Produce a creative, critically reflexive response using unit understandings to address a complex real life problem.
  • LO5. Critically reflect on the challenges and opportunities of seeking to intervene in or change the conditions of everyday life.
  • LO6. Develop an ethics of care and social responsibility to different and diverse communities.

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 is a new unit and student feedback will be sought for the first time in Sem 1, 2020.


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.