1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
1 x 9.25-hour independent study weekly
4.5 units of first level topics
Enrolment not permitted
SOCI3048 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
First year sociology topic knowledge, or first year knowledge gained from humanities or social science topics
Assignment(s), Participation, Presentation, Poster
Topic description

Comprising of two modules, the topic examines the historical emergence and cultural construction of gender. How did we come to view gender in the ways we do? How did we come to constitute gender as the innermost truths of the human individual, the core of personal life, the object of social control and governmental regulation? What are the practical consequences of organising our lives and institutions around the notion of gender & sexuality? How are norms about gender connected to power, in terms of which gender identities are deemed ‘normal’, and which are pathologised and ‘othered’? How does this power to construct norms connect to race, class, disability, and other axes of difference? Across the course, emphasis will fall not on natural ‘truths’ - biological essentialist assumptions about gender and sexuality - but on the social meanings attached to them in different cultural contexts. In the first module we will explore how gender is organised around binary norms and assumptions and in the second we unpack a set of contemporary cases related to gender to consider gender resistance and how gender binaries might be disrupted and challenged.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Enable students to deconstruct and critically analyse the social construction of gender
  • Offer students opportunities to examine different feminist sociological theories about gender and how it relates to intersections of race, class, and ability
  • Allow students to explore different forms of gender and sexual identity through the use of contemporary case studies of gender and sexuality in Australia and elsewhere
  • Provide students with the skills to think critically about ways to resist gender binary and norms
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to able to:

  1. Critically evaluate different theories about gender from feminist sociology and sexuality studies
  2. Explain how the social construction of gender is linked to power, privilege and marginalisation
  3. Debate the relevance of resources and materials sourced by the student in relation to identified issues and theories
  4. Evaluate possibilities for resisting and challenging gender binaries and sex norms