Language, Gender and Sexuality

Module code: EN7233

This module explores the relationship between the social construct of gender and the language used in its representation. Taking as our starting point the core work of 20th century (feminist) linguists, we consider how the language we use contributes to the construction of gendered, and sexualised, identities, and examine the significance of context in how masculinities and femininities are realised (e.g. formal versus informal spoken conversation; empowered versus powerless institutional environments). We also consider how the representation of gender in public texts informs, perpetuates and – at times – challenges dominant conceptualisations of gender, looking at a variety of text-types and genres (e.g. news, literature, advertising) from present-day and historical periods. As well as evaluating the theoretical findings of language and gender research, we discuss and critique the different methodologies used in these studies, developing our understanding of quantitative and qualitative approaches for the exploration of gender and sexuality in discourse.

The module is assessed through an individual research project, which is developed through discussion with your module tutor, and can investigate a particular area or topic of interest linked to the module content. Your tutor will provide detailed feedback on the project design at an early stage.

Learning

  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 140 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Essay, 3,000 words (100%)