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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : School (School of Social and Political Studies)

Undergraduate Course: Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World: Key Concepts, Controversies and Challenges (SSPS08010)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow can we understand gender in the contemporary world? How is gender constructed in different contexts and what are the material consequences? How can gender analyses empower us to act as agents of personal and social change? This inter-disciplinary course provides an overview of the major issues at stake in the study of gender relations from a broadly social science perspective. It introduces students to gender studies as a theoretical field of investigation, examining key concepts and debates in the field. Students will explore issues of power, inequality, intersectionality, change and resistance through contemporary examples of 'doing gender' around the world. In doing so, this course equips students - as 21st Century graduates - with awareness and understanding of global inequalities based on gender, race, class, and sexuality, as well as basic tools to undertake gender analysis.
Course description This course provides a rigorous but accessible introduction to the study of gender relations as a theoretical, social, cultural, political and historical field of investigation. Using an inter-disciplinary social science approach, it examines how gender shapes how we conceptualize and organise the world: how are masculinity and femininity constructed in different contexts and with what material effects? How does gender intersect with race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and other dimensions of identity? How can gender analyses empower us to act as agents of personal and social change?

Each week, students will be introduced to key concepts and issues including sex, gender, sexuality, feminism(s), power, the body, intersectionality, equality and difference. They will then explore these issues through key contemporary examples of gender research and 'hot topics' in the field, including, for example: gender and sport; popular culture and media; 'harmful cultural practices'; sexual harassment and lad culture; and trans*, queer and post-humanist challenges to traditional debates around sex and gender, among others. While the focus of the course is on gender relations, it takes an intersectional approach.

The aim of this course is to equip students with the concepts and tools needed to carry out a gender analysis of texts, images, institutions and contexts, as well as provide an introduction to a wide range of global gender issues. At the end of this course, students should be able to use these basic tools of gender analysis to begin to identify how power relations based on gender affect their own lives and how these power dynamics affect the lives of others on local, national, and global scales.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  200
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Online Activities 10, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 153 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) - 1,500 word essay (30%), choice of questions, due in week 5
- 1,000 word gender observation (20%), due in week 8
- 2 hour Exam (50%)
Feedback All essays will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission. General and individual exam feedback will also be provided. Students will receive several key pieces of feedback before writing their exam, including an assessment of their 1,000-word short essay and weekly formative comments from tutors on their blog entries.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show a critical understanding of the concept of gender, including its relational, institutional and symbolic dimensions;
  2. Identify and reflect on how power relations based on gender, race, class and sexuality affect their own lives and how these power dynamics affect the lives of others on local, national, and global scales;
  3. Apply theoretical gender debates and practical tools to real-world issues;
  4. Equip themselves with the skills and knowledge required for a gendered analysis of texts, images, institutions and contexts;
  5. Acquire the background understanding of key concepts and issues in gender studies that will enable them to contextualize their later learning in this area.
Reading List
Connell, R.W. and R. Pearse (2015) Gender in World Perspective. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Polity.

Wade, L. and M.M. Ferree (2014) Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. New York: W.W. Norton.

Evans, M. and C. Williams (eds) (2013) Gender: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.

Holmes, M. (2007) What is Gender? London: Sage.

Cranny-Francis, A., W. Waring, P. Stavropoulos, and J. Kirby (2003) Gender Studies: Terms and Debates. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in:
- Communication and Research - analysing evidence and using this to develop and support a line of argument in oral and written work;
- Critical Analysis - comparing, contrasting and evaluating different arguments in the work of other authors;
- Project Management - working independently and as part of groups, prioritising objectives, and working to deadlines;
- IT - locating material online, using blogs, LEARN and other online resources;
- Social Responsibility - developing an awareness of gender
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Claire Duncanson
Tel: (0131 6)50 4624
Course secretaryMr Alexander Dysart
Tel: (0131 6)51 5197
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