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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2020/2021

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2015-16. The current handbook year is 2020-21

Department: Health [Queen's Campus, Stockton]

HEAS44415: Gender, Sex, Health and Politics

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2015/16


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to theoretical approaches in gender and sexualities studies
  • To engage students with social, cultural and historical characteristic responses to sexualities, sexual health and politics
  • To promote an understanding of the historicity and political context of concepts of gender, sexualities and sexual health
  • To identify changes and continuities in sexual knowledge and practices related to sexual health and sexualities
  • To engage students with current issues of sexual health and sexualities in different social, political and cultural contexts and to promote understanding of how gender and sexuality inform and are relevant to those contexts, associated policy responses and health outcomes.


  • Key issues of gender, sexualities, sexual health and politics from the past to the present. An introductory session will introduce students to the main theoretical approaches and concepts in gender and sexualities studies. The following sessions will involve discussion of exemplary issues of gender, sexualities and sexual health, covering the themes of gender identities, sexual behaviours, sexual moralities and policies relevant to these.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • A critical understanding of topics related to gender, sexualities, sexual health and politics in specific cultural contexts and historical periods up to the present;
  • A familarity with key writings on sexualities and sexual health
  • Understanding of how these intersect with policies on sexualities and sexual health.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Evaluate different social, cultural and historical interpretations of key developments of sexualities and sexual health
  • Demonstrate critical skills in interpretation of historical sources as well as contemporary material related to gender, sexualities, sexual health and politics
  • Present their research on a selected topic about gender, sexualities, sexual politics, and/or sexual health in form of a poster using both illustrations and short texts
  • Provide a brief, accurate and engaging oral summary of their research
  • Write a critical and well-informed essay on a selected topic about gender, sexualities, sexual health and politics.
Key Skills:
  • The ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently
  • The capacity for sustained interprofessional learning and work at an advanced level
  • The ability to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to discriminate and use judgement
  • The ability to communicate effectively across specialised subject and professional areas.

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

  • Seminars include a short introduction to the topic by the lecturer; students’ interpretation of selected historical and contemporary sources; students’ short presentations of key primary and/or secondary literature; and joint critical discussion of pre-read research publications (partly in group work).
  • Structured reading will allow students to pursue topics in greater detail enabling both familiarity with key texts and a deeper understanding of the subject knowledge generally.
  • Poster presentations allow students to learn from each other in understanding how to design and present information succinctly and engagingly in a poster format.
  • Independent study, research and analysis will focus students' knowledge more deeply by pursuing aspects of the module that are of special interest to themselves.
  • Assessment of students’ posters and oral presentations will test their ability to present their critical knowledge and understanding of key arguments and concepts in a visually appealing creative and focused form, to formulate a clear relevant research question, to contextualise their research in the wider social, cultural and historical context, and to communicate this verbally in a given time frame to the peer-group and lecturers in an accurate, direct and concise manner.
  • Essay assessment will test students' critical knowledge and understanding of key concepts, their ability to argue coherently and communicate effectively in writing, and to reflectively assess their proficiency in thinking through how the various social, cultural and historical perspectives on gender, sexualities, sexual health, politics and/or policies are represented in the literature.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Integrated lecture and seminar 2 One per fortnight 6 hours 12
Students' Poster presentations 1 one half day session 3 hours 3
Structured reading 10 Weekly 3 hours 30
Independent study, research and analysis Student initiative Student determined 105
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay max 3000 words 80% Essay
Poster Illustrations & 150 word text 20% Poster

Formative Assessment:

Many decisions on allocating funds for intervention are based on evidence gathered by epidemiologists. For one globally-important disease of your choice, present information on what is known about causal risk factors and its global impact on health in terms of morbidity and/or mortality, citing the source of the information and following the data collection back to its source. Consider and report which gaps still exist in the knowledge base of cause-effect (1500 words excluding references)

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