Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Sexuality, Gender and the Body in the Mediterranean

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Arts

DESCRIPTION This study-unit brings together contributions from the fields of History, Sociology, Philosophy, History of Art, Geography, Anthropology, Medicine and International Relations. The various lectures will be underlined by some basic key concepts: the Mediterranean, the body, similarities, differences, social space, physical space, cultural space. These will give a sense of cohesion to the overall structure of the course.

The co-ordinators of the study-unit will provide introductory and concluding lectures that will act as frameworks for the whole. It is then intended to have four ‘clusters’ of lectures and seminars along these lines:

‘Cluster 1: ‘Framework lectures’, looking at issues such as the ‘problem’ of mind-body dualism, the concept of ‘the lived body’ and the process of embodiment , Feminist standpoint theories, Post-colonial theory with reference to the Mediterranean, the politics of location or situated knowledge, and Queer Theory.

‘Cluster 2’: Historical, anthropological and art historical issues in the study of sexuality, gender and the body.

‘Cluster 3’: Geographical and media representational issues in the study of sexuality, gender and the body.

‘Cluster 4’: Issues of disability and body modification in the study of sexuality, gender and the body.

In each cluster, students will approach the subject through a mixture of lectures and seminars, with a focus on a student-centred and student-led learning process. The various clusters bring together thematic, longitudinal and spatial considerations of sexuality, gender and the body in the Mediterranean in order to provide a holistic approach.

Study-unit Aims:

• To offer students insights into the study sexuality, gender and the body from a multiplicity of academic perspectives and with an emphasis on a Mediterranean dimension;
• To highlight developments in the field of gender studies as reflected in a variety of disciplines: Philosophy, Sociology, History, History of Art, Geography, Anthropology, Medicine and International Relations;
• To make students aware of divergent points-of-view about ‘gender studies’ as a discipline and as a subject;
• To underscore the interaction between gender issues and the various Mediterranean environments in which these unfold.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• explain what the key conceptual debates in the study of sexuality, gender and the body are;
• highlight and analyze key themes in Mediterranean studies and issues pertaining to sexuality and gender;
• critically appraise how an interdisciplinary approach to a subject which takes in a variety of perspectives provides for a better understanding of situations and events;
• recognise, relate and explain that the Mediterranean is characterised by both diversity and unity – in this instance with special reference to gender issues – in order to go beyond standard interpretations of Mediterranean sameness.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• read critically and selectively and make sense of a range of secondary sources;
• navigate with confidence through online resources and understand how to distinguish between generic web sites and serious academic and professional tools;
• write an assignment with a clear structure and logical presentation of arguments;
• discern the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach in seeking to gain a holistic perspective of socio-politico-cultural issues in contemporary society.

All of these skills are transferable and will prove useful to students in a variety of fields and career avenues.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts
Emanuel Buttigieg, Nobility, Faith and Masculinity: The Hospitaller Knights of Malta, c.1580-c.1700, (London and New York: Continuum, 2011), Chapter 4
Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian materiality: An essay on religion in late medieval Europe, (Brooklyn: Zone Books, 2011)
Mitchell, D. (2000) Cultural Geography A Critical Introduction. Chapter 7
Crossley, Nick ( 2001) The Social Body: habit, identity and desire, London, Thousand oaks, New Dehli, SAGE publications
Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art and Society, Thames and Hudson, 2002
Shakespear, T., , Sells & Davies. (1996). The Sexual Politics of Disability. London : Cassell
Corker, M. and French, S. (1999) Disability Discourse. Buckingham: Open University Press
Gill, R. (2007),Gender and the Media,Cambridge: Polity Press
Kafiris, K.(2005) /The Gender and Media Handbook/, Cyprus: Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, available online:

Supplementary Readings
Sandra Cavallo, Artisans of the body in early modern Italy: Identities, families and masculinities, (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007)
Johnston, L., Longhurst, R. (2009) Space, Place, and Sex: Geographies of Sexualities
Massey, D. (1994) Space, Place and Gender
McCarthy, M. (1999). Sexuality and Women with Learning Disabilities. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. London: Philadelphia
Albrecht, G., Seelman, K. & Bury, M. (2001). Institutional History of Disability. Handbook of Disability Studies
Macdonald, M (2006), “Muslim Women and the Veil”, Feminist Media Studies, Vol. 6, Iss. 1, 2006
Sammut, C. (2012) Gender and political engagement: Assessing the role of the media in the Maltese Islands. In Sadiqi, F. (ed.). Women and Knowledge in the Mediterranean. UK: Routledge


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 40%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 60%



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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2022/3. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.