CULT303-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Sexualities in Culture

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course analyses representations and models of 'normal' and 'abnormal' sexuality as these occur in sexology, psychiatry, self-help psychology, cinema and popular culture, and queer activism.

This course offers an in-depth appraisal of the way that we look at sex, sexuality, gender, and bodies. We start with a consideration of how normative and ‘deviant’ sexuality has been constructed over time, by moving from the so-called ‘two-sex’ or binary model of sexuality, into a wide variety of sexual identities and practices, from ‘straight’ to queer to trans* and intersex, and everything in between. We apply cutting edge theory to a broad range of cultural and popular texts, such as cinema, television, photography and new media. Students will come away with an excellent understanding of the fluidity and malleability of sexual practices, as well as an appreciation for how sexual identities are constructed through culture and discourse. This is an interdisciplinary course that draws from a wide variety of theories, discourses and approaches, including media studies, gender and queer studies, human-animal studies and post-structural theories of space and bodies.

Please note: some of the material we will engage with in class is sexually explicit and may be confronting for some students. Please contact the lecturer if you have any questions about this.

Learning Outcomes

  • In this course you will learn:
  • To provide an account of how Western understandings of sex and sexuality have changed over time, and why
  • To critique the notion of ‘normative’ or ‘normal’ sexuality
  • To understand that sexuality is fluid, and that it is both constructed and policed thorough social practice and discourse
  • To consider how bodies might be configured and reconfigured through theory and practice
  • To engage with sexuality as a political as well as a social practice
  • To understand and apply a variety of theoretical perspectives to real-world texts and situations
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Any 30 points at 200 level from CULT or
ENGL, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


AMST332, ENGL332, GEND307, GEND211

Equivalent Courses

Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00 - (24/3, 21/4)
Online Delivery (28/4-26/5)
Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre (18/2-17/3)
17 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 31 May
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 12:00 - 13:00 24 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 26 Apr
4 May - 31 May
02 Monday 13:00 - 14:00 24 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 26 Apr
4 May - 31 May

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Karen Saunders


Annie Potts


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Essay 1 35%
Essay 2 45%
Presentation 10%
Participation 10%

There is no final exam in this course.

Textbooks / Resources

*Image: "Elroy - Barcelona Spain 2009" © kaeltblock from XX Boys portfolio. Published with permission of the artist.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,553.00

International fee $6,750.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts.

All CULT303 Occurrences

  • CULT303-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020