Not available in 2023/24
GI428      Half Unit
Bodies, Culture and Politics

This information is for the 2023/24 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.

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 WT.

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.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 48.7
Merit 42.7
Pass 8.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2022/23: 36

Average class size 2022/23: 12

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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