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Feminism & Sexuality - WOM00005M

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

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

Sexuality is central to feminist politics and theory, and also a site of fierce contestation. Whereas most feminists have seen the current ordering of heterosexual relations as detrimental to women, beyond this there is little agreement, but rather a range of competing stances on heterosexual, lesbian and queer sexualities. This option explores the context and substance of these differences, relating theoretical positions to political ones and drawing on empirical research that casts light on the issues at stake. The course begins with an introduction to theories of sexuality and their relevance for feminism. In discussing these theories we will challenge heterosexualitys normative status, building on feminist critiques of heterosexuality. This will provide grounding for critical engagement with some of the major controversies which have been generated around sexuality - both amongst feminists and in broader arenas of public debate. The specific issues covered will depend on the interests of students and might include, for example: pornography and representations of the erotic; commercial sex; power and pleasure; sexual violence; families and sexuality; childhood and sexuality; sexuality education; sexology and sex manuals; the medicalization of sexual problems; the sexualisation of culture debates; the construction of sexual identities; romantic love, monogamy and couple relationships.

Module learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course students should:

  • Have a good grasp of the idea of the social construction of sexuality, why it has been important to feminist analysis and the variety of forms social constructionism can take
  • Have become familiar with the works of key theorists within the field of sexuality
  • Understand the history and basis of the major sources of contestation and debate within the study of sexuality
  • Be able to apply theoretical perspectives to empirical work on sexuality and evaluate theory in the light of empirical research


Task Length % of module mark
Feminism & Sexuality - Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Feminism & Sexuality - Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Normally by week 4 of the summer term, subject to approval by the external examiners.

Indicative reading

Hockey, J., Meah, A. and Robinson, V. (2007) Mundane Heterosexualities. (Basingstoke, Palgrave)

Jackson, S. and Scott, S. (2010) Theorizing Sexuality. (Buckinghamshire, Open University Press)

Richardson, D. and Munro, S. (2015) Sexuality, Equality, Diversity. Basingstoke, Palgrave)

Robinson, V. and Richardson, D. (eds) (2015) Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies. (4th edition.) (Basingstoke, Palgrave) See chapters on gender, feminist theory, masculinities, sexuality, family and the body.

Robinson, V. and Hockey, J. (2011) Masculinities in Transition. (Basingstoke, Palgrave)

Vance, C. (ed.) (1984) Pleasure and Danger. (London, Routledge)

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.