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WMN3115 - Sex and Gender in Australian Society

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: JaneMaree Maher


Not offered in 2007


This unit focuses on how gender is produced, reinforced and/or critiqued within Australian society, both in the past and currently. Key questions are: What role do historical understandings of masculinity and femininity play in contemporary sexual politics? How are these played out in literature, film and other forms of media? How do the questions of ethnicity, race and national identity intersect with issues of gender? This unit covers a range of historical periods and utilizes different disciplinary approaches to develop a critical understanding of the operation of sex and gender in Australian society. It includes exciting fieldwork opportunities.


Students successfully completing this unit will have gained:

  1. A grounded working knowledge of the major theoretical and methodological approaches to questions of gender and representation with particular reference to Australian society.
  2. An understanding of key social institutions such as the family and the workplace in the Australian context and recent related controversies.
  3. An interdisciplinary approach to textual analysis with a particular understanding of feminist cultural theory and its applications.
  4. Library based research skills and a working knowledge of the major data-bases used in cultural studies.
  5. The ability to think critically 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 production of thoroughly researched, well documented and presented formal essays.
  8. The ability to work independently as scholars.


Essay (3000 words): 60%
Class test (1500 approx): 30%
Class participation: 10%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week