AGS102 - Histories of Sex and Gender

Unit details


2024 unit information

Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Online
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Gilbert Caluya


Incompatible with: Nil
Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

This will include educator guided online learning activities within the unit site.

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - on-campus unit enrolment:

1 x 1-hour class (livestreamed with recordings provided) per week, 1 x 2-hour seminar per week

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - online unit enrolment:

Online independent and collaborative learning activities including:
1 x 1-hour class (livestreamed with recordings provided) per week, 1 x 2-hour seminar or equivalent per week


How have ideas about masculinity and femininity changed over time? What shifts have we seen historically in how we think about sexual relationships, gender roles and what makes a family? In what ways have European arrival and subsequent flows of people and information from a globalised world impacted on experiences and expressions of sex, gender and sexuality in Australia? How have campaigns for sexual and gender justice, such as the #metoo movement and LGBTIQ rights activism, changed people’s lives, and what are the histories of struggle behind today’s activism?

This unit reflects on these questions and provides a key introduction to histories of sex, sexuality and gender in Australia while also situating these histories in their broader international and cultural contexts. Through a critical engagement with histories of feminism, masculinities, heterosexuality and LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) life, this unit provides students with an understanding of the historical emergence of different ways of understanding sexual identity, sexual practices, sexuality and gender. Topics include histories of feminist activism, the influence of gay liberation, the emergence of the transgender rights movement, the development of new versions of masculinity and the family, and the importance of decolonising approaches to Australian history. We will explore these debates through a range of creative, critical, theoretical and historical resources, including legal and policy documents, literature, films, television, art, and archival materials. Having a historical understanding of these issues allows students to better grasp contemporary life in Australia.

For students studying the Gender and Sexuality Studies major, this is one of four compulsory core units (the others are AGS101, AGS200, and AGS300). This unit is also available as an elective for students who are not studying the GSS major.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Identify (and explain the contexts of) different historical expressions and experiences of gender and sexuality (e.g. femininity, masculinity, homosexuality and heterosexuality)

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO3: Digital literacy


Critically reflect on histories of sexuality and gender, identifying changes and connections across different historical periods and different cultural/geographical locations

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship


Analyse some key characteristics of, and events in, prominent histories of feminist and homosexual/LGBTIQ politics and culture

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO3: Digital literacy


Critically reflect on histories of sexuality and gender, paying particular attention to questions of class, race, ability and citizenship status

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1: Report 1000 words
or equivalent
25% Week 5
Assessment 2: Exercise 1000 words
or equivalent
25% Week 9
Assessment 3: Essay 2000 words
or equivalent
50% Week 12

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via AGS102
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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