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Sexuality explored at VUW

Feminism, lesbian and gay studies, postmodernism and sexology are among the themes to be explored in Victoria University’s new first-year paper focusing exclusively on sexuality.

The FHSS 111 Sexuality and Society paper, on offer in the second trimester of 2001, will take a look at sexuality from the perspective of social science.

Course Coordinators, Dr Pat Moloney and Dr Allison Kirkman, say the paper will challenge common sense assumptions that sex is a biological fact and that contemporary sexual identities are eternal features of human society.

"FHSS 111 Sexuality and Society assumes that sexuality is socially constructed, and drawing on the approaches of varied disciplines, investigates the constitution of human beings as sexual beings in New Zealand and in other western and non-western societies," they say.

Dr Moloney, a political scientist, says the course is "truly inter-disciplinary", with fifteen different schools and departments currently involved.

"Students will enjoy lectures from academics throughout the University, dealing with topics as diverse as ‘Sex in Ancient Rome’, ‘Commercial Sex in New Zealand’, ‘Adolescent Sexuality’, and ‘Queer Theory’," he says.

The course has its origins in the research and teaching interests in sexuality shared by an eclectic group of scholars at Victoria University.

Kirkman and Moloney are optimistic about the prospects of the course. "Students will benefit from the unique opportunity presented by different scholars, from various and sometimes conflicting approaches, tackling issues around sexuality," they say.

"While more advanced courses in different disciplines already concentrate on sexuality, this new introductory course will prepare students for higher level study. Intellectually the course draws on a number of different traditions - feminism, lesbian and gay studies, postmodernism and sexology."

The course is designed as a complement to BMSC 116 Human Reproduction, Evolution and Sexuality, taught by the School of Biological Sciences, introduced for the first time this year with great success.

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