We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures

MLAC2001: Mediterranean Sexualities: cultural stereotypes and transcultural exchanges

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • ARAB1012 or FREN1011.


  • FREN2051 (French Language 2) or ARAB2002 (Arabic Language 2).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • For students to read and analyse historical examples of transcultural observation.
  • For students to make culturally and historically informed comparisons of materials from different cultural traditions.
  • For students to reflect on their own practice as transcultural researchers and culturally informed interpreters.
  • For students to gain experience in using gender and sexuality as a cultural analytic.


  • Patterns of power, gender, and sexuality and their alternatives in patriarchal social formations in pre-modern Europe and the Islamicate World.
  • Historicizing the relationship between religious orthodoxy and literary representations of gender and sexuality.
  • Continuity and disruption in the eroticized representation of alterity.
  • The reception and re-imagination of Ancient Gender and Sexuality in pre-modern European and Islamicate cultures.
  • Orientalist depictions of Gender and Sexuality in Muslim-majority societies.
  • The depiction of European social mores in the accounts of Muslim travellers.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students will understand how gender and sexuality was represented and understood in a variety of pre-modern discourses around the Mediterranean Basin.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will understand how to apply gender and sexuality as analytical tools in cultural and literary research.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will demonstrate their ability to use primary and secondary resources relevant to the field of pre-modern gender and sexuality studies; undertake independent research; and construct critical arguments using rigorous textual and cultural analysis.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module will be taught through lectures and seminars. The two members of staff will share teaching responsibilities for the lectures and will be present for all lecture sessions over twenty teaching weeks. Staff will divide the teaching responsibilities for the seminar sessions, though this division will not necessarily be equal as that will depend on the linguistic competencies of enrolled students from year to year. Students studying the module as a French cultural module will attend seminars in which French-language primary sources are discussed, while students studying the module as an Arabic cultural module will attend seminars in which Arabic-language primary sources are discussed. The ultimate division of the original-language seminar groups will depend on the linguistic competencies of the students enrolled in a given year. Some seminar meetings will depend on the medium of translation so that students can discuss relevant texts from a wide transcultural sphere. These may include Italian, Spanish, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, etc. The translation of pre-modern texts and the impact of translational choices on the representation and reconstruction of attitudes toward gender and sexuality will be a topic of critical inquiry in the module.
  • Formative assessment activities, which may include in-class presentations and student-led discussions, will prepare students for summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment components will require students to reflect critically on relevant secondary and primary sources as a preparation for the research essay that forms the largest assessment component in this module. In the research essay, students will be challenged to demonstrate critical, linguistic, and cultural competencies in analysing materials related to the topic of this module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 fortnightly 1 hour 10
Student preparation and reading time 170
Total SLAT hours (20 credits 200, 40 credits 400) 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary 1 500 words 100% Yes
Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary 2 1,000 words 100% Yes
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research essay 3,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

In-class presentations; student-led group discussion

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.