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Courses / Modules / GGES3026 Gender, Sexuality and Space

Gender, Sexuality and Space

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Eleanor Wilkinson
Academic year

Module overview

This module explores the relationship between gender, sexuality, space and place. We will examine how the spaces we occupy are never empty or neutral, but are imbued with history, identity and meaning. Why are certain bodies understood as ‘naturally’ entitled to certain spaces, whereas others are excluded and positioned as ‘out of place’? Why are certain spaces seen as ‘masculine’ and others ‘feminine’? The module explores how processes of ‘spatial purification’ have sought to maintain rigid ideas about ‘appropriate’ gendered identities and sexualities which have historically resulted in the exclusion of certain groups such as LGBT communities and sex workers. We will also examine other ways in which gender and sexuality are implicated in processes of spatial exclusion through instances of ‘everyday sexism’ and ‘everyday homophobia’. The module also examines how the reclamation of space has been a vital tool in campaigns for gendered and sexual justice— such as ‘take back the night’ marches and the Stonewall riots. The module stresses the importance of intersectionality when thinking about the relation between identity, embodiment and place, highlighting the complex interplay of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, classism and ableism. Throughout the module we will explore a number of key questions, such as: how has domestic space traditionally been designed for the nuclear family? How do cities shape our sexual lives? What would a non-sexist city look like? How can spaces be designed to be more inclusive of non-binary genders? Through grounded real-world case studies, the module shows that space matters in both historical and contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality.

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