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Unit information: Readings in Gender and Sexuality in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 Readings in Gender and Sexuality
Unit code ENGL10053
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Emily Coit
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit considers women writers in transhistorical context. The sequence of authors will be determined by the tutors, but it will necessarily take into account the cultural, historical, political and theoretical forces that affected women’s lives as authors, subjects and citizens in any given period. Students will also be encouraged to think about modes of publication and distribution that influenced the ways in which these texts were received in their own times. In its final weeks, the unit comes up to the contemporary moment and makes explicit links between the questions and issues raised in the previous weeks and women’s lives and work now, thereby urging students to think about the work of literary analysis in ways that are urgent and immediate.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key women writers across a wide time period and an understanding of their historical contexts;
  2. apply understanding of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of literary works;
  3. discriminate between different critical perspectives on the history of gender and its effects on literary form;
  4. identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument;
  5. demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources;
  6. contribute to group tasks and discussions and demonstrate skills in oral presentation.

Teaching details

1 x one-hour Lecture.

1 x one-hour seminar weekly.

Assessment Details

  • 3 x 700 words of short exercises (25% each). [ILOs 1-5].
  • One group presentation (approximate duration 15 minutes; normally 4 students per group) with handout for an individual mark (25%) [ILOs 1-6].

Reading and References

Indicative list:

1 Emily Dickinson, selected poems

2 Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

3 Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women

4 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

5 Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, 'Sultana's Dream' – and other short fiction

6 Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts