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Unit information: Sex, Gender and Law in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Sex, Gender and Law
Unit code LAWD30110
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Katie Cruz
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will consider gender, sexuality, feminist and queer theories as they relate to contemporary legal and social issues. During the first term we will cover key theoretical frameworks, which might include: the Suffragettes, Liberal feminism, Cultural feminism, Radical feminism, Intersectionality, Black feminism, Marxist feminism, Post structuralism, Masculinities, and Queer Theory. In the second term we will apply these theories to substantive legal and social topics, which might include: the family and reproduction; male and sexual violence; human rights; trans politics; employment and the gender division of labour; legal reasoning; pornography; sex work. This module builds on your brief encounter with critical jurisprudence in Year 2. As such, it is not a doctrinal legal module and is suited to students interested in developing their knowledge of critical jurisprudence, feminist, queer and socio-legal theory.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Explain gender, sexuality, feminist and queer theories;
  • Apply these theories to specific topic areas and explain the relevance of these theories to legal studies and social and political issues;
  • Critically assess these theories through comparison. Students will be encouraged to develop their own opinion on the relative strengths/weaknesses of each theory;
  • Critically assess the relevance of these theories to the law, including: whether they help us;
  • Understand the development and effects of the law; whether they highlight potential solutions to problems with current law and social policy; and what they tell us about the usefulness or otherwise of law reform.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Details

1 x summative assessment: coursework with a specified word count (100%)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

There are numerous texts that are relevant for our study and because this is an interdisciplinary unit taught around the specialist research expertise of the teachers, you would do well to follow the reading lists carefully.

Journals: Some important journals in the field include:

  • Feminist Legal Studies
  • Feminist Review
  • Feminist Theory
  • Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture Hypatia
  • feminists@law

Websites: The following websites and blogs are an excellent source of feminist and queer commentary and debate (there are many others).

You might also follow your lecturers on twitter for other pertinent references: @yvetterusse11 @JoanneConaghan @LoisSBibbings @katiecruzzzz