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Module HPS-3206:
Sex and Society

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Joshua Andrews

Overall aims and purpose

In this module you will explore some major philosophical and religious questions related to sex. We will begin by considering the nature of sex, discussing a range of theories, including the traditional view of sex as essentially connected to reproduction and “plain sex” theories that emphasise sexual pleasure, we shall then conclude this section by asking what does it mean to be perverted. In the second section of the module, we will connect theories of sex to contemporary issues in the ethics of sexual behaviour, discussing issues such as sexual violence, pornography and prostitution. In the final section we will examine the basis of sexual oppression over the centuries and will trace the rise and influence of the feminist and LGBT+ movements.

Course content

The aim of the module is to explore some major sexual issues about which philosophers and religious thinkers debate: are gender and reproductive roles natural or are they socially constructed? What kinds of sexual activity are morally permissible and under what sort of circumstances? Should pornography and prostitution be outlawed?

Assessment Criteria

excellent

A - - A*. Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways:  Has originality of exposition with the student’s own thinking being readily apparent.  Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study.  Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions.

good

Very Good B- - B+. Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates:  Very good structure and logically developed arguments.  Draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student.  Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning.  Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.

C- to C+

Good C- - C +. Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates:  Good structure and logically developed arguments.  At least in parts draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student.  Assertions are, in the main, backed by evidence and sound reasoning.  Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.

threshold

D- - D +. Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows:

 Generally accurate but with omissions and errors.  Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning.  Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions.  Draws on a relatively narrow range of material.

Learning outcomes

  1. Have acquired a comprehensive understanding of the philosophical and religious perspectives concerning sex, marriage and gender issues.

  2. Present coherent arguments, with supporting evidence, in essays, examinations and seminars.

  3. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the main issues in contemporary debates concerning sexual morality.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay 50
Written assignment, including essay Film Review 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture 22
Private study 178

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Articulacy in identifying underlying issues in a wide variety of debates.
  • Precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.
  • Sensitivity in interpretation of religious and philosophical texts drawn from a variety of ages and/or traditions.
  • Clarity and rigour in the critical assessment of arguments presented in such texts.
  • The ability to use and criticise specialised religious and philosophical terminology.
  • The ability to abstract and analyse arguments, and to identify flaws in them, such as false premises and invalid reasoning.
  • The ability to construct rationally persuasive arguments for or against specific religious and philosophical claims.
  • The ability to move between generalisation and appropriately detailed discussion, inventing or discovering examples to support or challenge a position, and distinguishing relevant and irrelevant considerations.
  • The ability to consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking, and to examine critically presuppositions and methods within the disciplines of philosophy and religion.

Resources

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: