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WMN2250 - Sex, Science and the Body

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: JaneMaree Maher


Not offered in 2007


How do science, medicine and gender intersect in contemporary Western societies? How do ideas about sex and gender shape scientific knowledge and medical practice? What impact do gender norms have on the provision and delivery of health care? How does the development of scientific knowledge reflect contemporary ideas about sex and gender? This unit draws on scholarship in feminist science studies to engage students in current critical debates concerning sex, bodies and medical knowledge. A range of critical analytic approaches to contemporary medical and scientific questions will be introduced and key contemporary debates will be selected for close analysis and problem-based learning.


By the successful completion of this unit, students will have acquired the following skills:

  1. A grounded working knowledge of the major feminist theoretical and methodological approaches to science and the production of scientific knowledge.
  2. An informed theoretical critique of how such concepts as sex, gender and knowledge are present in the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge.
  3. An interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of scientific knowledge and the role of science in defining sex, gender and sexuality.
  4. Library based research skills and a working knowledge of the major data-bases used in feminist science studies.
  5. The ability to think critical and analytically, and to be able to articulate those thought processes in a high standard of written and oral expression.
  6. A focus upon the production of scholarly research as the end point of a process of reading, discussion, drafting and debate.
  7. The ability to work both independently as scholars and to participate actively in group projects.


Research exercise (500 words) 10%; Critical review (Class test) (1000 words) 30%;
Critical case study (group project)* (3000 words)60%
*Group Projects will require a section of 3000 words written by each student.

Contact hours

1 one-hour lecture + 1 one-hour seminar (for 6 weeks); 1 two-hour seminar (for 6 weeks)