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Unit of study_

GCST6905: Gender in Cultural Theory

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

What is the relation between femininity, masculinity and culture? Does sexual difference affect our identity and, if so, how and in what circumstances? Does it affect our relations with others? Is there any link between cultural and racial difference and sexual difference? What contexts may shape such links? Where does equality fit into all this? Drawing on the work of major cultural theorists and feminist thinkers this unit examines various theoretical conceptualizations and popular representations of gender; the issue of embodiment; and how sex and race are articulated within gendered conceptual frames.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GCST6905
Academic unit Gender and Cultural Studies
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jan Filmer,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation Presentation
In-class oral presentation
20% - equivalent of 500-750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Presentation Discussion Facilitation
Facilitation of class discussion via Padlet
15% - equivalent of 500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Final Essay
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 30 Nov 2020 at 23:59
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Detailed Essay Outline
15% Week 07
Due date: 12 Oct 2020 at 23:59
750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2

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



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.

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
Mid-semester break Mid-semester break Independent study (0 hr)  
Week 01 SUBJECT POSITIONS I: Feminist standpoints Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 SUBJECT POSITIONS II: Sexuality and Gender Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 SUBJECT POSITIONS III: Trans identities Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 SUBJECT POSITIONS IV: Family formations Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 EMBODIMENT I: Affect Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 06 EMBODIMENT II: Emotions in research Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 07 RESEARCHING GENDER I: Intersexuality Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 08 RESEARCHING GENDER II: Boyhood Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 09 RESEARCHING GENDER III: Feminist celebrity Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 10 RESEARCHING GENDER IV: In the More-than-Human Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 11 Student presentations Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 12 Student presentations Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2

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.

Required readings

Week 1 – SUBJECT POSITIONS I: Feminist Standpoints


Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. “Towards an Australian Indigenous Women’s Standpoint Theory: A Methodological Tool.” Australian Feminist Studies 28.78 (2013). 331-347.

de Lauretis, Teresa. “The Technology of Gender.” Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. 1-30.

Probyn, Elspeth. “The Spatial Imperative of Subjectivity.” Handbook of Cultural Geography. London: Sage Publications, 2003. 290-299. 


Crenshaw, Kimberle. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color” (1993) Stanford Law Review 43.6 (1991): 1241-1300. 

de Lauretis, Teresa. “Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness.” Feminist Studies 16.1 (1990): 115-150.

Harding, Sandra. “Latin American Decolonial Studies: Feminist Issues.” Feminist Studies 43.3 (2017): 624-636.


Week 2 – SUBJECT POSITIONS II: Sexuality and Gender


Butler, Judith. “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire.” Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge1990. 1-46.

Reddy, Vasu and Judith Butler. “Troubling genders, subverting identities: interview with Judith Butler.” Agenda 18.62 (2004). 115-123.

Kean, Jessica, and Rillark Bolton. "Explainer: What Is Genderqueer?" The Conversation. 26 Oct 2015.


Martin, Biddy. “Sexualities without Genders and Other Queer Utopias.” Diacritics 24.2-3 (1994): 104-121.


Week 3 – SUBJECT POSITIONS III: Trans Identities


Stone, Sandy. “The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto.” The Transgender Studies Reader. Eds. Stryker, Susan and Stephen Whittle. New York: Routledge, 2006 (1987): 221-235.

Sullivan, Corinne T. and Madi Day. “Indigenous transmasculine Australians and sex work.” Emotion, Space and Society 32 (2019). 1-7.


Namaste, Viviane K. “Genderbashing: Sexuality, Gender, and the Regulation of Public Space.” The Transgender Studies Reader. Eds. Stryker, Susan and Stephen Whittle. New York: Routledge, 2006 (1996). 584-600.

Stryker, Susan. “My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage.” The Transgender Studies Reader. Eds. Stryker, Susan and Stephen Whittle. New York: Routledge, 2006 (1994). 244-256.

Bolton, Rillark. “Reworking Testosterone as a Man’s Hormone: Non-binary People using Testosterone within a Binary Gender System.” Somatechnics 9.1 (2019): 13–31.

Heyes, Cressida J. and J. R. Latham. “Trans Surgeries and Cosmetic Surgeries: The Politics of Analogy.” TSQ: The Transgender Studies Quarterly 5.2 (2018). 174-189.


Week 4 – SUBJECT POSITIONS IV: Family Formations


Berlant, Lauren. “The Intimate Public Sphere.” The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. 1-24.

Ahmed, Sara. "Queer Feelings." The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. 144-167.


Deomampo, Daisy. “Egg Donation and Exotic Beauty.” Transnational Reproduction: Race, Kinship, and Commercial Surrogacy in India. New York: New York University Press, 2016. 95-121.

Weston, Kath. “Exiles from Kinship.” Families We Choose: Lesbian, Gays, Kinship. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. 21-41.

---. “Families We Choose.” Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. 103-136.


Week 5 – EMBODIMENT I: Affect


Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, and Adam Frank. "Shame in the Cybernetic Fold.” Critical Inquiry 21.2 (1995). 496-522.

Gorton, Kristyn. “Theorizing emotion and affect: Feminist engagements.” Feminist Theory 8.3 (2007). 333-348.


Gregg, Melissa, and Gregory J. Seigworth. "An Inventory of Shimmers." v. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. 1-25.


Week 6 – EMBODIMENT II:  Emotions in Research


Ahmed, Sara. “Affective Economies.” Social Text 22.2 (2004): 117-139.

Caluya, Gilbert. “The (Gay) Scene of Racism: Face, Shame and Gay Asian Males.” ACRAWSA e-journal 2.2 (2006). 


Munt, Sally R. “Gay shame in a geopolitical context.” Cultural Studies 33.2 (2019): 223-248. 

Probyn, Elspeth. “Glass selves: Emotions, subjectivity, and the research process.” The Oxford Handbook of the Self. Ed. Gallagher, Shaun. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 681-695. 


Week 7 – RESEARCHING GENDER I: Intersexuality


Fausto-Sterling, Anne. “Dueling Dualisms.” Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books, 2000. 1-44

Das, Arpita. “‘Aching to be a boy’: A preliminary analysis of gender assignment of intersex persons in India in a culture of son preference.” Bioethics 34 (2020): 585-592.


Kessler, Suzanne J. “The Medical Construction of Gender: Case Management of Intersexed Infants.” Signs 16.1 (1990): 3-26.

Hird, Myra J. “Gender's nature: Intersexuality, transsexualism and the ‘sex’/’gender’ binary.” Feminist Theory 1.3 (2000): 347-364.




Pascoe, C. J. “Dude, You’re a Fag: Adolescent Male Homophobia.” Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. 52-83.

Driscoll, Catherine. “Girls and Boys.” Cultural Studies Review 25.2 (2019): 233-236.

Bratich, Jack and Sarah Banet-Weiser. “From Pick-Up Artists to Incels: Con(fidence) Games, Networked Misogyny, and the Failure of Neoliberalism.” International Journal of Communication 12 (2019): 5003-5027.


Connell, R. W. and James W. Messerschmidt. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender & Society 19.6 (2005): 829-859.


Week 9 – RESEARCHING GENDER III: Feminist Celebrity


Taylor, Anthea. “‘Steve is twice the Aussie icon you will ever be’: Germaine Greer, the Crocodile Hunter’s death, and nationalistic misogyny.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 22.5-6 (2019): 630-645.

Buchanan, Rachel. “The record keeper.” Australian Feminist Studies 31.87 (2016): 22-27.

Dever, Maryanne. “Archives and New Modes of Feminist Research.” Australian Feminist Studies 35 (2017): 1-4. 


Hirsch, Marianne. “Feminist Archives of Possibility.” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 29.1 (2018): 173-188.

Taylor, Anthea. “‘The Most Revolting Ideas I’ve Read in a Woman’s Magazine’: The Female Eunuch, Affective (dis)investments, and McCall’s Reader-writers.” Australian Feminist Studies 35.1 (2020): 20-36. 


Week 10 – RESEARCHING GENDER IV: In the More-than-Human


Jackson, Zakiyyah Iman. “Outer Worlds: The Persistence of Race in Movement ‘Beyond the Human’.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 21.2-3 (2015): 215-218.

Neimanis, Astrida and Jennifer Mae Hamilton. “Weathering.” Feminist Review 118 (2018): 80-84.

Selection of poems from van Neerven, Ellen. Throat. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 2020.


King, Tiffany Lethabo. "Humans involved: Lurking in the Lines of Posthumanist Flight." Journal of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association 3.1 (2017): 162-185.

Hamilton, Jennifer Mae and Astrida Neimanis. “Composting Feminisms and Environmental Humanities.” Environmental Humanities 10.2 (2018): 501-527.


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. This unit aims: To introduce students to key debates and concepts in the study of culture in relation to gender and sexuality, including gendered aspects of representation; to provide students with a broad explanatory and historical framework in which to position these concepts;to give students critical reading skills to perform close reading of theoretical and other texts, and form responses to these; to give students the writing and discussion skills to convey their responses to texts clearly to an audience.
  • LO2. This unit will help to develop the following skills and attributes: The ability to formulate and analyse significant problems regarding questions of gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and subjectivity in relation to culture in the contemporary world; the ability to explain how cultural analysis and research contributes to understanding complex questions of gender, and how gender informs theories and practices of culture; skills in taking responsibility for their own learning and intellectual development in relation to these issues; an appreciation of the complexity of ethical issues arising in this field of study.

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.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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