ENGL332-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Sexualities in Culture

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


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.

While this course is offered by the English department and the Cultural Studies programme, it provides an excellent grounding in a broad range of the sorts of theories that underpin contemporary study in the humanities and so will be of value to students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. We regularly hear from students across different programmes, including the BA and the BCYL, that this course has acted as an excellent foundational course for higher-level study.

Please note that course has an emphasis upon in-person engagement, and is not designed to be taken by distance. Lectures have a strong discussion component. Assessments are structured carefully to help you develop skills throughout the course. ECHO recordings of lectures will be made available as study resources, but these are not a replacement for consistent in-person attendance.

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.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


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, CULT303, GEND307, GEND211

Equivalent Courses

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 15:00 - 17:00 Psychology - Sociology 252 Lecture Theatre (20/2-26/3, 23/4-14/5, 28/5)
Rehua 101 Lectorial (21/5)
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 Psychology - Sociology 413
26 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
02 Wednesday 13:00 - 14:00 James Logie 104
26 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun

Timetable Note

Please note: This course will not be recorded.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Karen Saunders


Annie Potts and Erin Harrington


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.)

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,687.00

International fee $7,900.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Humanities .

All ENGL332 Occurrences

  • ENGL332-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024