Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) 628

Gender and Sexuality (Revision 4)

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Delivery Mode: Grouped study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Completion of MAIS 601 is recommended; others should discuss prior academic experience with the course professor.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note:Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


MAIS 628: Gender and Sexuality introduces students to the theories and empirical research that form the backbone of gender and sexuality studies. The course questions the cultural imperative that there are but two biological sexes and that heterosexual desire and practice is the norm against which all other desires and practices are measured up against and found to be “deviant.” The course invites a critical examination of the two-sex binary and the heteronormative sexual order. The course materials focus on the ways in which sexed and sexual regimes are reproduced, resisted and challenged through feminine, masculine, queer, and trans performances of identity.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students should:

  1. have developed a clear understanding that sex, gender and sexuality are not primarily biological categories but social categories, produced and reproduced by discourse.
  2. be able to provide an overview of the historical and social changes in the understanding of sex, gender and sexuality in Western culture since the Middle Ages.
  3. recognize the power and pervasiveness of the two-sex binary (male/female) and the heteronormative sexual order in contemporary Western culture.
  4. recognize that the two-sex binary and heteronormative matrix produce social inequities: those who do not conform to the gender and sexual norms need to be considered as members of subordinate groups.
  5. understand that gender and sexuality are not homogenous categories and that they are confounded by other axes of difference such as race, ethnicity, class, and ability.
  6. be able to provide concrete examples of some of the ways in which normative masculine and feminine identities are reproduced but also challenged through gender performance.
  7. be able to explain some of the ways in which queer and transgender theories, identities and politics can expose taken-for-granted norms and in doing so, create opportunities to subvert the two-sex binary and heteronormative sexual order.
  8. be able to recognize their own privileges and/or marginalizations in relation to the normative sexed and sexual regimes.
  9. be able to draw on the theories and research presented in this course and apply them to the world around them.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Activity Weighting
Online Participation 20%
Short Essay 25%
Research Proposal 15%
Research Essay 40%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for MAIS 628: Gender and Sexuality include the items listed below.


Beasley, C. (2005). Gender and sexuality: Critical theories, critical thinkers. Los Angeles; London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Cavanagh, S. (2011). Queering bathrooms: Gender, sexuality, and the hygienic imagination. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Foucault, M. (1990). The history of sexuality: Volume 1, An introduction (R. Hurley, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, October 25, 2017