Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Philosophy


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Theory, Literature and Society (PHIL2131) OR Reading Europe (EUSS2081).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To familiarise the students with some theoretical work, originating mainly from Continental Europe which offer discussions on gender.
  • To explore theories (Freudian, Lacanian and Kristevan) that seek to explain the social construction of gender by analysing the relationship between gender and biology, gender and language and gender and violence.
  • To assess the effect and relevance of these theories on cinematographic production.


  • Freudian, Lacanian and Kristevan approaches to gender.
  • Gender in relation to text, language and violence.
  • Three cinematographic representations of gender (Potter's Orlando, Campion's The Piano, Tarantino's Pulp Fiction).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should know the main lines of the gender debate: gender as biological density versus gender as cultural construct.
  • Students should have a general knowledge and critical understanding of the main ideas characterising Freudian, Lacanian and Kristevan understandings of gender.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • correctly utilise specialist vocabulary
  • grasp, analyse, evaluate and deploy subject-specific concepts and arguments
  • locate, understand, assess and utilise pertinent philosophical (and, where appropriate, historical) sources
Key Skills:
  • express themselves clearly and succinctly in writing
  • comprehend complex ideas, propositions and theories
  • defend their opinions by reasoned argument
  • seek out and identify appropriate sources of evidence and information
  • tackle problems in a clear-sighted and logical fashion

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

  • Seminars will provide the opportunity for students to present their own work in progress, to test their understanding of the course material, and defend and debate different opinions on theories and questions presented in that material.
  • Guided reading provides a structure within which students exercise and extend their abilities to make use of available learning resources.
  • The summative essays test knowledge and understanding of the course material, and the ability to identify and explain philosophical questions raised by the natural sciences, and, using relevant research material, to present relevant philosophical theories and arguments that claim to answer those questions, and to make reasoned judgements on the merits and demerits of such theories.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 22 Weekly 90 mins 33
Preparation and Reading 167
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Research Project Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Project 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two oral presentations one at tutorial and one at seminar. No collection required.

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