54083 Sexing Power
Students are expected to develop an essay question drawing on the themes covered in the subject, such as ‘oppressive practices’ such genital mutilation, media representation, bodies, gendered experiences of consumption, violence, citizenship, development and war, to name a few.
The essay should include a critical analysis of one of the theoretical concepts/ debates covered in the subject, applying it to the example of your choice. This requires breadth of reading, critical and analytical skills and development of well-grounded arguments supported by relevant academic literature.
Possible essay question for writer to consider is:
Why would women continue the practice of a procedure, such as that of female genital cutting, when it causes pain and potential health risks that could lead to serious injury or death? culture?
a. Examine in depth how social and political institutions function to regulate sex, gender and sexuality
b. Analyse theories and social/cultural practices relating to gender and identity within a transnational context
c. Explain theories of gender, culture and power through contemporary issue-centred debates
d. Examine gender from a critical theoretical, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural framework
e. Reflect on students’ own practice
This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
1.Possess information literacy skills to locate, gather, organise and synthesise information across diverse platforms to inform the understanding of the communication industries (2.1)
2.Be reflexive critical thinkers and creative practitioners who are intellectually curious, imaginative and innovative; with an ability to evaluate their own and others' work (2.2)
3.Demonstrate an awareness and knowledge of global contexts and openness to cultural exchange (3.1)
4.Possess the awareness of ethical practice in the personal, political and professional contexts of civil society (5.1)
5.Possess well-developed skills and proficiencies to communicate and respond effectively and appropriately across different contexts (6.1)
Teaching and learning strategies
This subject is taught based on a modified flipped learning method through UTS online and case studies through a variety of classroom activities. It includes interactive lectures and class discussions based on in-class student presentations using various multimedia/ open education resources; Intense student-initiated small-group tutorial ‘theme-explorations’ and online discussions sustaining collaborative investigations and debates. Students receive formative/diagnostic feedback on their assignments through the provision of “benchmarking”, discussion of criteria, feedback from tutors and peers, self-assessment and reflection.
This subject enables students to undertake a rigorous and detailed analysis of the notions of sex, gender and sexuality in a wide variety of cultural and social contexts. Students examine in depth how social and political institutions function to regulate sex, gender and sexuality, how gender analysis helps us understand contemporary social and political issues, and how gender and sexual identities are embodied and performed in everyday life. The subject examines gender from a critical theoretical, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural framework. We start with the introduction of key theoretical concepts and debates drawn from feminist theory, queer theory, post-structuralism and post-modernism. This includes debates on gender/sex and sexuality, embodiment and performativity. We explore gender blindness in western thought, examine the ethnocentricity of Western feminist theory in general and introduce the diversity of feminist approaches. Following theoretical exploration, the subject applies these key concepts and debates to a range of contemporary issues and practices we face, such as globalisation, international relations, multiculturalism, religion, indigenous communities and environmental issues.
• If you can choose your gender, what gender you want to take on and why?
• Think of an incident in which you were ‘true self’. What made this incident one in which you felt you were your true self?
• Think of an incident where you behaved in a way that was not an expression of your true self.
• What social and culture pressures have affected your gendered identity?
• How has your gender affected your identity?
1.What is your view on the couple’s decision not to reveal their child’s gender?
2.Can you think of any impact this decision might have on the child?
3.Why ‘gender’ matters?
4.What do you think about gender neutral parenting?
Introduction to Sexing Power: Why study sex/gender, culture, power?
Gender roles across cultures: perspectives on gender and identity
Gender roles and identities can be a source of confusion and sometimes even conflict when they are poorly understood. The social sciences offer us tools that can help avoid such misunderstandings while exploring the variety of gender roles and identities that exists across cultures. In this lecture, we will explore some of the rich diversity of gender expression that exists among Muslim communities in various cultural contexts to help us appreciate the links between gender roles and the cultural assumptions they are built on. This lecture will also discuss the changes (and sometimes conflicts) that may occur when gender roles are challenged and whether or not respect for traditional gender hierarchies in a community may perpetuate oppression.
Sexing/Gendering Western Political Thought: Who speaks for whom and whose voices are heard
How is gender understood in the key political philosophies that have shaped Western societies? What are the basic or universal human rights we must have to meet our needs in society in general? Are these (human nature/universal rights) different according to gender, race, or any other categories? Feminists in the global South and developing countries and women of diverse backgrounds in the West have challenged liberal feminists who condemn patriarchy in other cultures and advocate universal standards of women’s rights such as choice and freedom. The lecture raises the question of how to address and confront ethnocentrism, ethnic conflict and racism within Western feminisms.
This week’s lecture considers the ways that LGBTQI+ identities have been debated and contested in a range of political and institutional settings, as well as within LGBTQI+ communities themselves. It will present the findings of research into queer activist networks in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra conducted between 2015-2016. In doing so, it will explore the notion of ‘queer’ in three directions: as a theoretical alignment and object of study; as a means of self-identification and embodiment; and as a constellation of practices.
News media and Other masculinities
Throughout history, many cultures have attempted to secure a sense of nationalist identity through locating and persecuting an 'other' — that is, a group who threatens a perceived unity or identity of the group/nation. Non-White masculinity has often been seen as a social threat in Australian settler history, including perceived threats of Indigenous men, Muslim and/or Middle Eastern men, and recent fears of 'African gangs' promoted by media and politicians. This lecture examines how 'dangerous figures' of masculinity are presented by Australian news media, including narratives of ethnic gangs in Western Sydney, the 2005 Cronulla Riots, and African gangs.
Gendering through bodily practices
Gender is enacted through bodies via various practices of bodily modification; from fashion and body-building, to circumcision, cosmetic surgery, and ‘female genital mutilation’ (FGM). Early Western critiques saw FGM as a sign of female subordination in other cultures and often failed to critique gendering bodily practices in the West. In recent decades, cross-cultural dialogue has challenged these critiques, arguing for greater awareness of context, and addressing both similarities and differences among a range of genital and bodily modifications that operate globally. Across these examples, we will look at how discourses of health, beauty, and bodily integrity are used to normalise bodies and genders in particular ways.
Sexing Motherhood? Gender and relationships of care
Although motherhood is central to the lives of many women, Western feminism has at times struggled to theorise mothering. This week’s topic will explore contemporary debates about the biological, social and cultural dimensions of mothering. How have dominant constructions of motherhood led to Indigenous, non-white, queer and “othermothers” who do not fit within prevailing social stereotypes about motherhood being labelled deficient or “deviant”? How do understandings of what constitutes “good” mothering shift over time and cultural context? Can men mother?
Digital media, global struggles, and queer and trans lives
Academic and public discussions of queer and trans lives have tended to centre white perspectives and narrow (Western) understandings of gender and sexuality. Through examples of local and global political movements and discussion, this lecture considers how digital and social media are used to broaden and complicate understandings of queer and trans lives. It also considers Indigenising and decolonial perspectives, queer migrations, collective & connective digital activism, homonationalism, and digital communities of support.
Consolidation & Evaluation
Sexing Globalisation: the Global Sex Work
Globalisation has had a huge impact on the growth of the sex industry both locally and internationally. Based on the lived experiences of sex workers from diverse backgrounds in different geographical locations, the lecture explores the complexities and ambiguities surrounding sex workers, their migration trajectories and working and living conditions.