GI428      Half Unit
Bodies, Culture and Politics

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leticia Sabsay


This course is available on the MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender (Sexuality), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation and MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is limited to 30 students.


Course content

‘Bodies, Culture and Politics’ explores different constructions and understandings of gendered, racialised and sexualised bodies, with a focus on how these have been mobilised by transnational artistic and cultural practices and politics of resistance. Bodies have been at the centre of renewed debates in the light of the emergence of new critical approaches within the social sciences and the humanities and the developments of the natural sciences. Parallel to these debates, increasing attention has been paid to the significance of bodies in contemporary democratic politics. In the last decades, the uses of bodies and the arts in popular mobilisations and political activism have acquired renewed relevance, hand in hand with transnational dialogues and exchanges. Focusing on these trends, the course considers different theoretical approaches to bodies and embodiment (i.e. phenomenological, deconstructivist, materialist, psychoanalytic), and a set of related areas of inquiry, including the materiality of bodies, the differential value socially assigned to bodies, the affective dimension of embodiment, intersectional processes of racialisation, gendering and sexualisation, vulnerability, beauty ideals, and (dis)ability. These questions will inform our exploration of the imaginaries of the body mobilised by feminist and queer political art, activism, and cultural practices, as well as popular mobilisations and anti-racist and anti-austerity social movements, among others.


The course runs across the LT. It contains both asynchronous and interactive teaching and learning elements.

In line with department policy, this course will have a reading week in week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 project and 1 presentation in the LT.

Indicative reading

Ahmed, Sara (2006) Queer Phenomenology

Braidotti, Rosi (1994) Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory

Butler, Judith (2014) Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly

Crimp, Douglas (2002) Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics

Franklin, Sarah, Celia Lury and Jackie Stacey (2000) Global Nature, Global Culture

Griznik, Marina and Sefik Seki Tatlik (2014) Necropolitics, Racialization, and Global Capitalism: Historicization of Biopolitics and Forensics of Politics, Art, and Life

Grosz, Elizabeth (1994) Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism

Pollock, Griselda (2013) After-Affects/After-Images: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation in the Virtual Feminist Museum

Salamon, Gayle (2010) Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetoric of Materiality

Tate, Shirley (2015) Black Women’s Bodies and the Nation: Race, Gender and Culture


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 47.6
Merit 44.7
Pass 7.8
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2020/21: 43

Average class size 2020/21: 11

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills