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76081 Gender and Law

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Law
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): (70120 Legal Method and Research OR 70102 Foundations of Law)) OR (70110 Introduction to Law AND (76006c Public International Law OR 70108c Public International Law)
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject explores legal issues regarding sexuality and gender in a cross-doctrinal and interdisciplinary context. The subject introduces students to legal scholarship that takes a feminist perspective and considers the multitude of ways in which law constructs and regulates individuals and families by reference to their gender and sexuality. In doing so, the subject traverses and re-traverses various legal doctrinal areas, such as criminal law, international law, family law, anti-discrimination law and so on. However, the focus is not on the legal rules as such, rather the purpose of the subject is to provide a solid theoretical foundation that enables students to understand links between various legal doctrines and practices that have contributed to inequality.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. understand feminist legal theory and gay/lesbian/queer theory;
2. examine the complexity and contradictions inherent in the legal construction of gender and sexuality, utilizing interdisciplinary perspectives;
3. explore a series of themes surrounding gender and sexuality and in doing so: Consider the interaction of gender and sexuality with other identities and issues; .
4. consider the relationship between activism and legal processes;
5. undertake a sustained piece of original research.

Teaching and learning strategies

Strategy 1 Discussion based classes.
Strategy 2 Set materials provide the backdrop and context for discussion.
Strategy 3 Case studies are utilised to provide an in-depth method of analysis and practical application.
Strategy 4 Reflective journals to develop analytical skills and self directed learning strategies.

Subject Delivery and Expectation of Student Participation

This course is taught through interactive seminar style which requires advance preparation and active engagement.
Do not expect your instructor to lecture you in a formal manner; rather she will outline general issues and guide discussion. You must assume responsibility for much of your own learning by reading in advance and considering the issues raised by the readings.
Download the reading guide from UTSONLINE prior to week 1 so you can begin reading and preparation.
Classes provide an opportunity to discuss what you have read, to evaluate your reading from new perspectives and to share your ideas, thoughts and concerns with your colleagues.

Content (topics)

  1. The Gender & Sexuality of Law
  2. Trans-ness
  3. Equality & Privacy
  4. Hatred , Violence & Victimization
  5. Relationships
  6. Activism, Change, the State


Assessment task 1: Class Participation

Weight: 20%

Assessment task 2: Reflective Journal

Weight: 20%

Assessment task 3: Essay Plan

Weight: 10%

Assessment task 4: Research Essay

Weight: 50%

Required texts

  • Reg Graycar and Jenny Morgan, The Hidden Gender of Law (2nd ed, 2002).
  • Gender, Law and Sexuality Reading Materials, available for purchase from the Union.