Studying online

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Unit Overview


This unit examines critical theories of identity and their relationships with the law. It covers feminist theories, theories of sexual and gender orientation and masculinities as well as theories of intersection, between race, gender and sexuality. The first part of the unit is a survey of approaches taken by general and legal theorists. The second part examines several areas of law and society from the perspective of these ideas. The areas may include: homicide (reforms to defences); law relating to the economic life of women (e.g. pay discrepancies and the 'glass ceiling'); reproductive technology laws; and internet regulation. The unit emphasises inquiry into ideas rather than the learning of legal doctrine. It extends written and oral communication skills with a focus on theoretical and analytical discourse. This is a seminar unit: face to face participation applies to all of the three hours per week and none of the classes are recorded.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Law and Society; Gender Studies; Criminology and Criminal Justice major sequences
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of (a) key general and legal theories of gender and sexuality and their historical development; (b) how law shapes and responds to cultural norms; and (c) how law contributes to social change and (2) develop skills in (a) reading and understanding complex theoretical texts; (b) analysing and comparing theoretical perspectives; (c) reading critical legal materials; (d) oral and written communication; and (e) reflective thinking concerning the relationship between theory and personal, concrete experience.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation at seminars/tutorials; (2) response papers; and (3) major essay. 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)
Associate Professor Stella Tarrant
Unit rules
For Criminology major students: LAWS1110 Crime and Society, LAWS2223 Criminal Justice System and at least one other Level 2 option unit from any major.
For all other students: LAWS2227 Law in Action
or LAWS2220 Birth, Life, Death and the Law and at least one other Level 2 Law and Society option.
Contact hours
3 hours per week
The classes in this unit will not be recorded.

Tong, R. P. and Fernandez Botts, T., Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, 5th edn: Westview Press 2017  ISBN-13: 978-0813349954 ISBN-10: 0813349958

Krien, A. Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport, Black Inc 2013

  • 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.