Law, Gender and Sexuality (Aut)

Module code: M3017
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

This module examines the role of law in shaping and regulating gender and sexuality. It will explore, among other things:

  • the idea of gender
  • the idea of sexuality
  • their respective constructions in the circumstances of contemporary society (but as derived from their histories).

It will consider broad thematic issues such as:

  • equality (in the context of differences in sex and sexual orientation)
  • privacy and the significance of the public/private divide where issues of gender and sexuality arise
  • the advent of fundamental rights jurisprudence in relation to gender and sexuality.

It will also reflect on substantive areas of law in which distinctions of gender and sexuality appear to have significant consequences. These will include areas of:

  • family law (like marriage and the legal frameworks that govern the conception and rearing of children)
  • employment law (like equal pay, parental leave, and discrimination)
  • the law relating to the (selective) provision of public or commercial services (medical treatment, hotel accommodation, etc.).

In exploring the contours of substantive law as they are informed by gender and sexuality considerations, the module will also explore the continuing relationship between law and society in the construction of gendered and sexualised identities. Although the module will focus on traditional legal sources – cases, statutes and legal treatises on the subject – it will also be informed by developments in the politics of gender and sexuality, and by changes in feminist and queer theory.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a critical and reflective understanding of the theory relating to the social construction of gender and sexuality.
  • Explain and critically assess the way in which (particular) rules of law are engaged in the regulation of gender and sexuality.
  • Critically analyse and consider number of instances of substantive law in which issues of gender and sexuality are significant.
  • Carry out independent study and research using a range of legal and social science materials.