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Gender Without Borders MA

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Two days per week September 2017
Part time 2 years One day per week September 2017

Choose Kingston's Gender without Borders MA

The Gender Without Borders MA is an interdisciplinary masters, taught across three core subjects, English, philosophy and sociology, while also allowing you to take options in other disciplines, according to your interests. It explores gender as it intersects with race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, religion and disability. The course is taught in a seminar style that is student led by a team of experts that combines international reputations with dynamic, research-led teaching.

This course considers gender across disciplinary borders in a self-consciously transdisciplinary way, interrogating assumptions of both the humanities and social sciences. Its focus is not exclusively on women, but it conceives of gender in a fluid way, across the borders of the traditional divide between genders, by taking transgender seriously. It also incorporates transnational perspectives, reflecting upon the invisible whiteness that is normatively stipulated by discourses that present themselves as neutral with regard to race, while in fact privileging Eurocentric and post-colonial biases.

Two fully funded scholarships are available on a competitive basis.

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What will you study?

The course is designed to allow you to reflect critically upon a range of intersecting differences, race, gender, class, sexuality, and disability in such a way as to resist the scripts of white, heteronormative, ableist privilege that tend to invisibly structure discourse unless a concerted effort is made not to allow default social scripts to circulate unchallenged.

The central and organising question of the two core modules is how different sites of privilege, discrimination and marginalisation intersect with one another, and whether and how the discourse of intersectionality adequately theorises the way in which divergent aspects of identity relate to one another. You will engage with texts and debates in a rigorous, critical and transdisciplinary manner, interrogating the relation between theory and practice in creative ways. You will develop the skills necessary to be able to conduct sustained, independent and original research. You will also have the opportunity to pursue you own disciplinary interests by pursuing optional modules in a range of disciplines.


Coursework and dissertation.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This year-long module provides the research skills core for the Gender Without Borders MA. It will introduce students to a range of research methods drawn from across the interdisciplinary range of the MA, drawing attention to the research practices of different subject disciplines, and asking students to critically reflect upon their own critical practice, paying particular attention to the ways in which researchers employ interdisciplinary methods in their work. In the first teaching block, students will be introduced to a range of different critical approaches to the study of gender and related intersectional concerns, through interactive seminars led by specialists in different subject disciplines. In the second teaching block, they will follow a tailored programme of research training activity directed towards their dissertation focus, culminating in the presentation of their research proposals. Students will also have the opportunity to undertake an optional work placement, and all students will be asked to reflect either on this activity or – consciously addressing the conceptual framing of the module – alternative definitions of ‘work’.

  • This is a core module for the MA Gender Without Borders. It consists of supervised independent research and writing and enables the student to conduct detailed and extensive research into a distinctive area of enquiry and to present that research in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words. All students will have prepared for writing their dissertations by taking the core modules Advanced Critical Research Methods (GWB 7002) and Interrogating Intersectional Differences (GWB 7001).

    On approval, students may substitute a creative project (for example a film or a play for the dissertation). A supplementary essay of 5,000 words, situating the creative project in theoretical terms, will accompany the creative project.

  • Gender will be considered in the context of other socially salient categories. The emphasis is upon questioning the boundaries or borders of gender, how gender bleeds into neighbouring areas, operating in such a way as to be constituted and inflected by, and therefore inseparable from, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion, ability, age. This list could be extended. The module interrogates a diversity of perspectives with regard to how to conceptualize gender, including intersectional approaches. The course will be taught from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Principal among these are English, Sociology and Philosophy, although contributors from other disciplines perspectives will also be involved. The strategy we adopt here is to facilitate an intersectional reflection through examining four broad themes or categories (these are indicative):

    I)                 bodies (including postcolonialism and transgender, desire and religion, racialized conceptions of gendering, ablebodiedness)

    II)               domesticity and work (exploring labour in the context of a globalized system of capitalism that is gendered and raced)

    III)              violence and war (how women are exposed to bodily danger in sex work in international contexts, and how gender is affected by and affects the reporting of war in conflict zones)

    IV)             representation (how race is bound up with gender and sexuality in images and art)


Optional modules

  • This module consists of a transversal and diffractive exploration of creativity and its function in critical thought. Focusing on a range of issues pertinent to the exploration of intersectional identities, the module will engage students in the expression of their responses to questions of embodiment, materiality, space, borders and limits through a series of creative pieces and critical reflection. Through the production of work in a range of new and traditional media such as the visual arts, filmmaking, performance, and creative writing, students will examine how theoretical ideas spread outwards into creative practice, and the ways in which theory and practice intersect. Students will be involved in researching the notion of diffractive creativity, and will be introduced to definitions, cultural contexts and current research perspectives through a range of stimuli, critically examining these issues in relation to their own practice. This is accompanied by a range of practice-based methodologies including visual, sound and performance practices. Students will be encouraged to make links between creative processes through translating concepts across a range of different artistic fields, expanding their own conceptual and procedural understanding of embodiment and transversality.

  • Literature has a long history of representing the erotic, and of exploring, affirming and contesting ideas about the body. This module explores how writers have responded to the legal, scientific and psychoanalytic definitions of sexuality formulated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the impact of feminism and queer theory upon the ways in which we think about gender, sexuality and writing. The module will consider a range of topics, such as the emergence of the concept of separate spheres, issues of sexual morality and censorship, the effects of the criminalisation of homosexuality upon literary representations of homosexual desire, the poetics and ethics of pornography, the effects of new technologies on the representation of sexual desire, and utopian and radical visions of sex and society.

  • This module invites students to reflect on changing constructions of gender and sexuality in contemporary cinema. Theoretical approaches to gender and sexuality in film will be explored, with particular reference to notions of spectatorship and the body. Students will have the opportunity to analyse the construction of gender and sexuality in a range of contemporary films, taking account of the role played by their particular historical and cultural contexts.

  • Though important advances have been made in terms of gender equality at work and education, certainly with the UK, gender divisions and gender inequalities remain a significant political and social issue in our contemporary social world. The purpose of this module is to examine the concept of gender, and its consequences for our global society.

    The module will begin by critiquing the notion of gender and how gender expectations are produced and mobilised. In doing so, it will explore theoretical arguments from contemporary authors and sociological theorists, as well as classical feminists such as Harriet Martineau, Jane Addams and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

    The module will then look more closely at some of the consequences of gender division and gender inequality in society today (in terms of work, education, consumption, visual images) and will examine the way in which gender distinctions are mobilised and reinforced through discourse and practice. Moreover, though the module will focus on gender it will  note the importance of intersectionality, and as such will explore important relationships between gender, race, class and age.

  • Each year this module focusses on a study of a different selection of Freud's major and minor works, mining them for their philosophical significance and reflecting on the implications of psychoanalysis for philosophy, particularly in relation to the philosophical notion of the subject. Where appropriate the module will discuss the critical development of this theoretical framework by psychoanalysts such as Jacques Lacan and Jean Laplanche, its reception and deployment in the tradition of Freudo-Marxist critical theory, and the theoretical transformation and political critique of Freudian theory in feminist and queer theory.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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