Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Understandings of the body have profound implications for how we live and work as gendered, sexed, and raced subjects. This unit investigates the way bodies have been 'read' over time and place, through medical, scientific, legal, literary and philosophical discourses, paying particular attention to the sexed body and the future of embodiment. It investigates the way bodies are constructed through narrative tropes or social conventions and also considers the role of the body in reading or interpreting, which are themselves embodied activities. Examples of texts explored include poems, dance, film, short stories, performance art, comic strips, stand-up comedy and art activism; and the theoretical framework is interdisciplinary, drawing from literary theory, sociology, philosophy, history, anthropology, and the medical humanities. From the werewolf to the cyborg; fairytales to science fiction; ecofeminism to steampunk: this unit tells the story of how embodiment has been thought, shaped and lived, and considers what this may mean for the future of embodied life. It makes for an absorbing broadening unit for anyone with a body.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Gender Studies major sequence
  • Level 1 option in the English and Literary Studies; Humanities in Health and Medicine major sequences
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) identify and contextualise dominant discourses about the body in Western culture and scholarship

; (2) apply theories of the body to textual examples and lived experience

; (3) analyse any methodology (such as reading or writing) as an embodied process which sediments a particular understanding of the body; (4) demonstrate a capacity to recognise and articulate patterns of representation that recur across diverse texts or genres; (5) confidently evaluate and use concepts associated with literary, philosophical, sociological and feminist scholarship about the body

; and (6) reflectively deploy theories of the lived body to experientially support sensitive, ethical and nourishing interactions with others.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) anthology assessment; (2) take-home review; and (3) participation and engagement. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jessica Murray
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.