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Gender Without Borders MA

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Varies but usually two days per week September 2018
Part time 2 years Varies but usually one day per week September 2018

Choose Kingston's Gender without Borders MA

The Gender Without Borders MA is an interdisciplinary masters, taught across several subjects, including English, Creative Writing, Film, Music, Philosophy and Sociology. 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.

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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 question of the core modules is how different sites of privilege, discrimination and marginalisation intersect with one another, and whether the discourse of intersectionality adequately theorises divergent aspects of identity and how they 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 interests through optional modules in a range of disciplines.

Assessment

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. 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. Students 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 and Interrogating Intersectional Differences).

    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 an arts-based engagement with new materialist theory and practice. The module explores the concepts of diffraction and creativity through engaging with matter in diverse forms. The new materialist articulation and manipulation of matter will be explored from the perspective of literature, philosophy and the creative arts, through the combination of theoretical readings and practical projects. The module explores creativity and its function in critical through with afocus on questions of embodiment, materiality, space, borders and limits. The new materialist challenge to both the humanities and the sciences will be explored through reading the work of thinkers like Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti and others. The module will combine theory with practice where the focus is on students' experience of creative practice in a range of interrelated contexts. Students will explore and combine a range of traditional and new technologies, and will be introduced to definitions, issues, cultural contexts and current research in new materialism. 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 new materialism.

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  • 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.

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  • This module examines the way in which the genres of Horror and Cartoon Comedy splice animals and humans together to create frightening or comical visions of both. There is a long history in cinema of humanising the animal ('anthropomorphism') and animalising the human ('theriomorphism'), through hybrids of animal and human beings (werewolves, man-beasts from Greek myth), or animal and human behaviour, as when feeding (vampires, zombies) or in political behaviour (invading alien monsters). We will analyse the narrational methods, cinematic technologies, ethics, and politics of these films by looking at contemporary examples including Twilight, Daybreakers, Red Dragon, The Island of Dr Moreau, Splice, X-Men, Up!, Antz, Happy Feet, District 9 and Alien.

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  • This optional module problematizes the notion of ‘the human' from a range of critical and philosophical standpoints. It asks whether technological developments, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality, have decentred our traditional understandings of consciousness, perception and embodiment, and if new political and social formations undermine any meaningful sense of shared human experience. It also interrogates the moral and epistemological bases for significant relationships between humans and other species, and asks what, if anything, humans can learn from non-human agents. These questions inform a critical engagement with a selection contemporary works of global literature.

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  • This module examines the ways literature has helped to imagine, construct and reconceive spaces, places, and populations, from those at home and in the city, to ones of exploration and empire. The module approaches diverse literary material of the colonial period – from travel writing to adventure fiction – through theoretical frameworks derived from critical geography, postcolonial criticism and cultural studies. Key concepts such as the contact zone, transculturation, hybridity, mimicry, and borderland are examined and debated in order to develop a critical understanding of how literature maps territories, represents places, and transgresses spatial and subjective boundaries. The module also pays particular attention to how gender, race, class and national identity intersect and inform the ways in which writers engage with particular spaces.

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  • Literature has a long history of representing the erotic, and of exploring, affirming and contesting ideas about the body. This optional module explores how modern writers have, from the late-nineteenth century to the present, engaged with moral, legal and scientific understandings of sexuality, and considers the impact of feminist criticism, queer theory and pornography studies upon how we think about the complex and often difficult relationship between sex and writing. You will critically examine provocative and formally challenging textual material in order to debate a range of contentious issues and themes, such as sexual morality and censorship, literary and journalist accounts of prostitution, the supposed distinctions between literature, erotica and pornography, the effects of new technologies on the representation of sexual desire, and utopian and radical visions of sex and society.

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  • Personal testimonies and oral and textual representations of traumatic experience are the life force of human rights work, and rights claims have brought profound power to the practice of historical and autobiographically based writing. This module uses a range of approaches from a number of disciplines to explore the connections and conversations between human rights and the representation of familial and socio/historical traumatic experiences in writing. We will examine traumatogenic works by survivor-writers who are eyewitnesses to slavery, genocide, and forced displacement as well as those who have experienced personal, familial violence and rights abuse. We will also look at works by theorists of trauma and autobiographical writing, documentary filmmakers and human rights advocates making use of literary/critical, historical, psychological, and rights advocacy approaches in our discussions.

    The module will have four key sections sections—testimony, recognition, representation, and justice—evoking the key stages in turning experience into a human rights story. In doing so it attends to such diverse and varied arts as autobiography, documentary film, report, oral history, blog, and verbatim theater. It will begin by looking at moving personal accounts from those who have endured persecution, imprisonment, and torture; turn to meditations on experiences of injustice and protest by creative writers and filmmakers; and finally explore innovative research on ways that digital media, commodification, and geopolitics are shaping what is possible to hear and say.

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  • The aim of the module is to introduce students to relevant issues within the realm of globalisation, terrorism and international crime: eg terrorism, environmental crime, piracy, human trafficking, criminal networks, cybercrime. It will enable students to develop a detailed comprehension of the complexity of these criminogenic experiences.

    In the first part of the course, the module focuses on terrorism. It will be introducing students to a range of complex historical, political and social factors that have contributed to the articulation of terrorist practices. Students will have a chance to engage in the understanding of the reasons why certain practices emerge, the interaction between terrorist discourses and the media and how international law enforcement bodies work and interact.

    The second part of the module will present a critical overview of different organised and transnational crimes. Students will be offered a chance to explore the articulation, social control and impact of organised criminal behaviour at an international level. Students will understand the links between terrorist practices and other organised crime (eg cybercrime or trafficking of humans).

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  • Throughout its history, the American nation has centred its identity upon notions of protest, resistance and dissent: a questioning of authority that has come to define American ideas of democratic freedom and individuality. This module explores how writers of poetry and prose from the 19th century to the present have asserted the American consciousness through literatures of counter-cultural resistance, challenging political ideologies, and questioning established modes of thinking. We will explore movements such as Transcendentalism, the Beats, Black Arts, and the New York School and their production of a counter-cultural aesthetic. Alongside this, we will consider individual writers who have responded to dominant discourses surrounding race, gender, nationalism, capitalism, and war - writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Chesnutt, Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Leslie Marmon Silko, George Saunders and Thomas Pynchon. How, we ask, have these writers and movements both responded to and shaped the idea of American identity through a politics that is both radical and anti-authoritarian? The module is assessed by a combination of two short essays, discussion posts and a long critical essay.

     
  • This module examines the rich and dynamic presence of British black and Asian writing from the mid-17th century to the present. Exploring the ways in which black and Asian writing has contributed to definitions of Britishness for more than 300 years, it examines how black writers have produced formally innovative and conceptually challenging responses to questions of race, class, gender and identity, while simultaneously making significant creative contributions to the fields of drama, prose, poetry, and life-writing. In the first half of the module, students will study a range of early British texts from the mid-17th century to the 19th century from writers such as Equiano and Mary Seacole, alongside contemporary works which have reflected on the black cultural presence in Britain during this period, while the second half of the module turns to 20th century and contemporary texts by writers such as Zadie Smith. Andrea Levy, Monica Ali, Hanif Kureishi, Meera Syal, Gautam Malkani, Leila Aboulela, Jackie Kay and John Agard, contextualised by appropriate critical and cultural theories from thinkers such as Paul Gilroy and Stuart Hall. The module is assessed by a flexible assessment strategy which allows students to respond to the module through a combination of critical essay, performance and/or creative writing, and discussion posts documenting engagement and critical response. 

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  • This module will provide an insight into the classic Hollywood cinema's approach to issues relating to female sexuality. It will investigate the studio star industry with case studies of female stars, including Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. It will trace the development of the depiction of gender and sexuality on screen within their socio-political contexts (such as the Hays Code).

    The module will explore the principal features of some of the archetypal ‘bad' women on screen, investigating the ideologies and aesthetics which have shaped the  cinematic representations of femininity. The module will also map the development of specific female archetypes on screen from the screen ‘goddess' or diva  (and her appeal for the male and female fans), through the stereotypes of the man-eating vamp and the female tramp to the child woman or ‘Lolita' type.

     
  • This module aims to build on students' critical understanding of the function of journalism, its place in society and its ethical, legal, technological and commercial framework. It develops material on the nature, history and purpose of journalism covered in earlier modules to critically examine how the UK media has risen to the challenge of reflecting and representing the ever more socially and culturally diverse Britain of today – as well as its duty to accurately and impartially report on foreign affairs and conflicts.

    By considering concepts such as truth, objectivity, accountability, a free press, freedom of information and public interest in relation to journalism, students will develop an awareness of the tensions between journalists, readers, sources and proprietors in a changing media landscape and what it means to be an ethically responsible journalist.

    Students will also examine the impact of social, technological and commercial changes on the practice and business of journalism, including the decline of conventional advertising, the increasing plurality of media forms, changing audience demands and expectations, and the rise of news aggregating websites and cheap ‘content' over costly original reporting.  

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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.

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

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Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Contact us

Admissions team

*5p per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other providers may vary.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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