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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CULT3008 Reading Sexual Difference

20 creditsClass Size: 22

Module manager: Dr Eric Prenowitz
Email: e.prenowitz@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This is a module in reading, as if sexual difference were some 'thing' that could only be read, interpreted, and never simply observed from a neutral, transcendental, scientific viewpoint. Of course we will be interested in what philosophers have to say (or not) about it, and indeed sexual difference can be seen as the motor or the mother of all philosophical questioning.As such, however, it must also constitute a challenge to the very foundations or possibility of philosophy itself. The passage from seeing to reading is thus a passage beyond theory - and beyond a certain theory of Cultural Studies. Not that science or philosophy is necessarily for boys and poetry for girls. And yet our 'literary' penchant is anything but neutral: we would like our study to itself be inscribed in and with sexual difference. We will read some of the important thinker-writers on the topic including, Butler, Cixous, Derrida, Freud, Irigaray, Lacan.Assessment: 1x 2,000-3,000 word essay (50%) and 1 x 1 hour exam (50%).

Objectives

On completion of this module, students:
- should be able to think critically on the topic of sexual difference, and on other cultural studies themes from a perspective informed by the problematics of sexual difference.
- will have become familiar with a self-reflexive, 'meta-critical' practice of analytical reading that in recent years has offered a new approach to the ancient divide between theory and poetry.
- will be able to provide an account of the history of modern thought on sexual difference.
- will be able to read and discuss key works of major thinker-writers on the subject, including Freud, Lacan, Cixous, Butler, Irigaray and Derrida.

In methodological terms, students will:
- have developed skills in close reading.
- be able to take sexual difference into account in making detailed analyses of literary texts and other forms of creative expression.

Skills outcomes
- Verbal and written fluency in constructing a logical and coherent argument
- Use of audio visual aids
- Participation in group discussions
- Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of historical, contextual visual information
- Using bibliographies and databases.


Syllabus

This is a module in 'reading', as if sexual difference were some 'thing' that could only be read, interpreted, and never simply observed from a neutral, transcendental, scientific viewpoint. Of course we will be interested in what philosophers have to say (or not) about it, and indeed sexual differernce can be understood as the motor or the mother of all philosophical questioning.

However, as such, it must also constitute a challenge to the very foundations or possibility of philosophy itself. The passage from seeing to reading is thus a passage beyond theory. Not that science or philosophy is necessarily for boys and poetry for girls. And yet our 'literary' penchant is anything but neutral: we would like our study to itself be inscribed in and with sexual difference.

The module will open with an introduction to Freudian theories of sexuality and Lacanian developments thereof, through close readings of primary source texts. The module will proceed to critiques of these two authors from a wide range of perspectives (psychoanalytical of course but also anthropological, literary and philosophical). Next, we will read a series of readings of sexual difference by such authors as H.Cixous and J.Derrida. These will include both interviews and written texts.

The module will conclude with a number of literary and artistic examples exploring questions of sexual diference in modern and post-modern contexts.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Seminar112.0022.00
Tutorial111.0011.00
Private study hours167.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- 130 hours reading and seminar preparation
- 37 hours essay preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Attendance at seminars/tutorials - register taken
- required seminar contribution and oral feedback.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000-3,000 word essay50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/01/2010

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