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Approaching Women's Studies - WOM00003M

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  • Department: Centre for Women's Studies
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Asha Abeyasekera
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This module provides a context and foundation for other more specialised work in Women's Studies as well as a space for thinking about general problems of method and theory in this field. It enables students from many different disciplinary backgrounds to work with their peers to develop a broad range of knowledge suitable for interdisciplinary and intercultural feminist research.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module provides an introduction to key issues and concerns within Women’s Studies. It starts by exploring theoretical and conceptual approaches to the field, paying particular attention to the category of ‘woman’ and the concept of ‘gender’, and interpreting these through an intersectional lens that takes categories such as race, sexuality and class, amongst others, into account. The module then moves on to consider various topics that have been and still are of particular concern to feminists. Interdisciplinary in approach, the module enables individual students from many different disciplinary backgrounds to work with their peers to develop a broad range of knowledge suitable for interdisciplinary gender research. We also want you to think outside the Western context in which we are working and in which most of the feminist theory we are discussing originated; we do this by developing an awareness of the epistemological basis of this theory, as well as by critically engaging with case studies and material from other cultures.

Module learning outcomes

After successfully completing this module, students will be able to:
• Interrogate and explain key issues and concerns within Women’s Studies, including the problematics associated within the category ‘woman’ and the concept ‘gender’.
• Critically engage with and account for the differences amongst women, with an astute awareness of intersecting identity categories such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, dis/ability, age.
• Apply different methods to gendered research, with an appreciation of the importance of interdisciplinarity to Women’s Studies.
• Develop feminist research with an appreciation of the importance of cross-cultural work in Women’s Studies, with a sensitivity to questions of difference and diversity.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will write a draft as a procedural essay (compulsory but not assessed) partway through this module, and will receive detailed feedback and a tutorial to help you improve your essay writing.

Indicative reading

Avtar Brah Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities London: Routledge, 1996.

Raewyn W. Connell Southern Theory: Social Science And The Global Dynamics Of Knowledge Cambridge: Polity Press 2007.

Mary Eagleton (ed) Feminist Literary Theory: A Reader 3rd ed. Chicester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Jean Makdisi, Noha Bayoumi, Rafif Rida Sidaw (eds.) Arab Feminisms: Gender and Equality in the Middle East London: I.B. Tauris, 2014.

Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim (eds.) Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives London: Routledge, 2002.

Oyèrónk ´Oyewùmí African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the politics of sisterhood Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003.

Victoria Robinson and Diane Richardson (eds.) Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 4th edition.

M B Zinn et al. (eds.) Gender through the Prism of Difference Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.