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CUL 322 – Screening (Ab)normal Bodies

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Nicole Matthews
Contact via nicole.matthews@mq.edu.au
12-1 Mondays.
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(39cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
Our bodies give us a world, and have meaning, both for ourselves and others. We are directed at every level to align our bodies with cultural norms – but what about modes of embodiment that don't conform to what we generally understand as 'normal’? In this unit, we turn our attention to unquestioned assumptions about what constitutes a ‘normal’ body, consider how these norms are created and think through the experiences of people whose modes of bodily being challenge the boundaries of the ‘normative’. The aim of this unit is to critically examine the ways in which various forms of (ab)normal embodiment are understood in contemporary culture and to explore the social, political and ethical effects of such understandings. Our critical examination may cover disability, pregnancy, fatness, ageing, surgical interventions and other forms of body modification. Lectures, tutorials and assessments will draw extensively on screen texts, particularly documentaries and autobiographical video and film, to explore ideas about “normal” and “abnormal” bodies played out across the media and come to form part of everyday practice.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  2. interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  3. effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  4. use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  5. critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’
  6. actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

General Assessment Information

  • Additional information

  • MMCCS website https://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/faculties_and_departments/faculty_of_arts/ department_ of_media_music_communication_and_cultural_studies/

  • MMCCS Session Re-mark Application http://www.mq.edu.au/pubstatic/public/download/?id=167914 Information is correct at the time of publication

 

Practices on late submission

Tasks 10% or less: No extensions will be granted. Students who have not submitted the task prior to the deadlne will be awarded a mark of 0 for the task, except for cases in which an application for Disruption to Studies is made and approved.

Tasks above 10%: Students who submit late work without an extension will receive a penalty of 10% per day. This penalty does not apply for cases in which an application for Disruption to Studies is made and approved.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Reflective summaries 10% 9 am Mondays Weeks 2-11
Essay outline & meeting 20% No 9 am Mon Ap 10/Ap 10-12
Participation 15% Ongoing
Essay 40% Midnight Friday 12 May
Autobiographical reflection 15% No Monday 22 May - Monday 29 May

Reflective summaries

Due: 9 am Mondays Weeks 2-11
Weighting: 10%

Students will be required to submit, online via iLearn, ten short reflections on weekly readings.  Each reflection should refer to all key readings for the week.  Ten summaries should be submitted between weeks 2 and 11.   Reflective summaries should be submitted by 9 am on Monday mornings each week.  The reflective summary for Week 2's key readings for instance, should be submitted online at 9 am BEFORE the Week 2 lecture and tutorials. 

Reflections should be between 250 and 350 words in length, and should summarise selected key ideas from ALL readings set for that week.  Students may choose to focus on one reading and make a limited number of comparisons and connections to the second (and in some cases third) reading.    Reflections may also include connections between weekly readings and lectures and readings for previous weeks and comments on the relationship between readings and embodied practices or experiences.  Reflective summaries are not expected to reflect a perfect understanding of the essential readings, but to be a starting point for further thinking and discussion.

The aim of this exercise is to ensure that students read and engage with the set readings so that they develop a scholarly understanding of issue and debates, and that class discussion is informed and productive. Consequently reflections posted after 9 am on Monday morning on the week the reading is set will receive 0, unless a student has lodged a disruption to study application.

 

Criteria for summaries:

- Timely production of summary

- Engagement with appropriate readings 

- Fulfilling the writing brief 

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Essay outline & meeting

Due: 9 am Mon Ap 10/Ap 10-12
Weighting: 20%

This assessment consists of two components:

1. an essay plan, to be posted to Turnitin by 9 am Monday April 10 (beginning of Week 7)

2. a 5-10 minute planning meeting, to occur during Week 7 (April 10-12), in which each student will summarise their plan and receive feedback and advice from their tutor.

 

The essay outline 

This outline should be no longer than 500 words, plus bibliography.  It should clearly outline the question or problem to be discussed, line of argument or position, key theoretical perspectives to be used, and the case study or cultural practice which will be the focus of your essay.  Your outline should map out key points in your argument in the order in which you will present them in the final essay.  You should write in paragraphs. 

The outline should not be a "mini essay" but should indicate clearly your plans.  You are welcome to use the words "I" and "my"!.  Useful starting points for the essay outline may include sentences like "This essay will" "My case study for this essay will be" "I will argue that" "My key theoretical reference points will be" or "My three key points will be"

The outline should include a bibliography no less than five sources which you plan to use in your essay.  At least two of these sources should be from the key readings in the unit.  At least two should be from your independent research.  You should use in-text referencing as appropriate in your outline.  You may choose whatever referencing system you prefer, though Harvard style will be warmly received.  The bibliography is IN ADDITION to the 500 word limit of the outline.

Late assignments will be penalised by 10% of the mark allocated per day, unless the student has documented medical or personal reasons for late submission.  Extensions for personal or medical reasons must be negotiated before the assignment.  Failure to attend the planning meeting will result in loss of marks.

 

Criteria for essay outline:

- Understanding of key concepts around embodiment

- Awareness of theories and debates and positioning essay within those debates

- Appropriate reading and research, including both key readings and peer reviewed independent sources within the discipline

- Identification of appropriate practices to discuss in essay

- clarity of expression and use of appropriate genres of academic communication

- effectively mapping out an argument 

 

The planning meeting

A 1:1 meeting with your tutor during Week 7 in place of tutorials that week.  A schedule for 1:1 meetings will be circulated during tutorials in Weeks 5-6.  Some meetings will take place between the lecture and tutorials on Monday April 10.  Other timeslots will be availble on Tuesday April 11, and if necessary Wednesday April 12.  The informal meeting will be 5-10 minutes long and take place in your tutor's office (for Nicole Y3A 165c).  In the meeting you will be asked to provide a verbal summary of your plans for the essay including the question or problem to be discussed, line of argument or position, key theoretical perspectives to be used, and the case study or cultural practice which will be the focus of your essay. 

You will be invited to raise any difficulties may have experienced in preparing the essay outline and to ask any questions you may have on content or approaches to essay.  Your tutor will provide verbal feedback on your plans for the essay and offer advice on next steps.

In addition to posting the essay outline to Turnitin by the deadline, you will need to bring a paper copy of your outline to give to the tutor during the meeting.

 

Criteria for the planning meeting

- prompt arrival at the scheduled time

- evidence of preparation for the meeting

- clear and coherent explanation of plans for the essay

- active engagement in conversation about essay planning with the tutor

- evidence of reflection on your own learning so far and demonstrated ability to identify difficulties or challenges that you need support with in developing your essay


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Participation

Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 15%

 

All students are expected to attend face-to-face lectures and tutorials and participate in discussions in class. Your grade will depend on the quantity and quality of participation. While attendance is not sufficient for participation, in most cases it is a necessary precondition for participation.

Attendance in both lectures and tutorials will be recorded each week.

If you are unable to attend a particular lecture you will be required to submit 5 discussion questions relating to the material in the lecture and associated reading to an iLearn discussion forum by 9 am on the Monday AFTER the lecture they have missed. 

 

Criteria for participation grade:

- Evidence of undertaking action to identify learning needs.  Evidence of such action will include attendance and  participation in tutorials, attendance and participation in lectures or timely uploading of lecture-based discussion questions

- Evidence of engagement in the process of learning and preparation for learning, including reading and reflection, before lectures and tutorials to allow effective learning to take place

- Thoughtful and ethical engagement with peers, lecturer and/or tutor in lectures and tutorials


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Essay

Due: Midnight Friday 12 May
Weighting: 40%

 

Length: 1500 - 2000 words. Essay questions will be posted on unit webpage by the end of Week 2.

Late assignments will be penalised by 10% of the mark allocated per day, unless the student has documented medical or personal reasons for late submission.  Extensions for personal or medical reasons must be negotiated before the assignment due date.

You will be required to attach a completed reflective overview sheet at the beginning of your essay.  The form for the reflective overview will be available on ilearn by Week 6. Non submission of your reflective overview sheet will result in a 5% penalty on your final essay. You will need to indicate on the sheet

* how you have responded in the final essay to the feedback provided on your essay outline

* how your essay demonstrates your achievement of the learning outcomes for the unit

* whether you intend to read written feedback your tutor provides on your essay

* if you are likely to read feedback on your essay, what elements of your essay you would like to receive feedback about

Answers will be brief - your responses on the overview sheet should include between 200 and 400 words. 

 

Criteria for the essay

1) effective engagement with the chosen question, including clarity of expression, structure of argument, range and quality of research undertaken and complete and accurate referencing

2) selection, understanding and effective use of appropriate concepts, theorists and debates from lectures and essential readings

3) relevance, originality and effective analysis of case study materials chosen

4) consideration of question of ethics

5) reflection on the perspective and limitations of sources and on own position and perspective

6) submission of a completed reflective overview sheet

 
 
 
 
 

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Autobiographical reflection

Due: Monday 22 May - Monday 29 May
Weighting: 15%

This final assessment will require each student to select one concept or reading considered in CUL322 during the course of the semester.  In the reflection each student will discuss the way in which this concept or reading provides new critical or analytical perspectives on one aspect of their own embodied experiences.  This assignment requires students to reflect on how the ideas discussed in this course during the semester might be relevant to their own past or future lives.

Students will be required to present a 3-5 minute presentation which

- briefly introduces the pertinent features of the concept or reading to be considered

- use this concept to analyse some aspect of their own embodied experience.

Students can choose to present in their tutorial in Week 11 or 12 or the presentation can be audio or video recorded and posted to VoiceThread on ilearn.

 

Mode of presentation

Students are welcome to use a variety of formats.  They may choose:

- to bring in an object in to class as a focus for discussion

- to use one or more personal photographs, maps, advertisements or images from television or the internet as part of the presentation

- to use Powerpoint, Prezi or other visual aids alongside their talk

- to record themselves speaking to a video camera

- to record an audiotrack over a series of images or a set of powerpoint slides

 

There is no obligation to speak about very personal aspects to embodied identity, although you are welcome to do so if you wish.  We are equally happy to have you reflect on your embodied experience of paid work, being a grand daughter or a twin, belonging to a particular religious community, getting up in time as a student, having a pet or using a fitness app as your experiences of illness or disability, sexuality or pregnancy. 

Throughout the semester we will be looking at many texts that analyse and reflect on the author/filmmaker's personal embodied experiences.  These include documentaries such as Orchids (Week 4) and Vital Signs (Week 5) and key readings, including Alice Dreger (Week 4), Anne Finger (Week 5), Mitchell and Snyder (Week 7), Jane Crisp (Week 9) and Donna Haraway (Week 11).  These films and readings will show you some of the different ways of effectively discussing and analysing embodied experience.  Clearly the words "I" and "my" are not just allowed but pretty much necessary here!  However drawing on your own experience does not mean losing academic rigour!

Tutorials during which face to face presentations will take place will be on Monday May 22 and Monday May 29.  All online presentations must be completed and associated materials posted by midnight on Monday 29th of May.  Students who choose to present face-to-face in class will be asked to post their notes, script or slides to VoiceThread to allow moderation of marks by the same time.

 

Criteria for assessment:

- appropriate selection of concept or reading

- demonstrated understanding of concept or reading

- effective communication skills, including structure, mode and length of presentation

- identification, description and analysis of relevant embodied experience

-  application of concepts and arguments to case study


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Delivery and Resources

This unit will use iLearn for submission of assignments, including reflections.  However, attendance at lectures and tutorials is important as indicated by the participation mark. 

Lectures are interactive and class discussion in lectures is poorly recorded on iLecture, making face-to-face attendance highly valuable for students.  A roll will be taken in both lectures and tutorials will be recorded.

We understand that sometimes there are compelling reasons why students cannot attend lectures, such as caring responsibilities or medical conditions.  Students who cannot attend the lecture but wish to maintain a high participation mark for the unit will be required to five discussion questions relating to the lecture and reading material for that week to a discussion board on iLearn by 9 am on the Monday following the lecture they have missed.

Equally, reading the set texts for the week is essential for completion of the unit.  Reflective summaries of key readings must be submitted on-line BEFORE that week's lecture and tutorials.  These summaries are not expected to be written beautifully or show an in depth understanding of the reading - they just need to be completed in a timely way on the appropriate two readings.

The readings for the unit will be available on eReserve. Many of them are journal articles which are available in electronic format via the library catalogue.  The reader will be available via the Coop Bookshop for those who prefer a paper reader.  Some paper copies will be held at the bookshop but it may be useful to ring ahead so further print runs cn be made if necessary.

Suggestions for further readings are offered for most weeks, to enable deeper reading on the topic for those who are passionately interested, or are writing an essay or putting together an autobiographical reflection on that theme.  These are just the starting point for your further reading.

Unit Schedule

CUL322 Screening (ab)normal bodies

Block 1: Creating “normal”

Week 1 (27 Feb): Introduction to the unit

Note that there will NOT be a tutorial in Week 1

·       Urla, Jacqueline and Terry, Jennifer (1995) "Introduction: Mapping Embodied Deviance" (exerpts) from Deviant Bodies, Indiana University Press

 

Week 2 (6 Mar) Biopower and perfect babies

·       Perron, A., Fluet, C.. Holmes, D. (2004) “Agents of care and agents of the state: bio-power and nursing practice” Journal of Advanced Nursing, 50(5), pp.536-44

·       Gareth M. Thomas & Deborah Lupton (2016) Threats and thrills: pregnancy apps, risk and consumption, Health, Risk & Society, 17:7-8, 495-509,

 

Week 3 (13 March): ab/normalcy

·       Davis, Lennard (1995) Excerpt from “Constructing Normalcy”, in Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body, New York: Verso pp.23-40

·       Dreger, A. (1998) “The limits of individuality: ritual and sacrifice in the lives and medical treatment of conjoined twins” Studies in the history and philosophy of biology and biomedical science 29(1) 1-29

 

Week 4 (20 March): (Inter)sexed bodies

·       Preves, Sharon (2002) “Sexing the Intersexed: An Analysis of Sociocultural Responses to Intersexuality”, Signs, 27:2, pp.523-56.

·       Dreger, Alice Domurat (2000) “Jarring Bodies: thoughts on the Display of Unusual Anatomies”, Perspective in Biology and Medicine, 43:2, pp.161-72.

 

Week 5 (27 March): dis/ability

·        Finger, Anne (2005) “Writing disabled lives: beyond the singular” PMLA Conference on Disability Studies and the University 610-615

·       Jarman, Michelle (2005) “Resisting good imperialism: reading disability as radical vulnerability” Atenea 25(1): 107–16

·       Garland-Thompson, Rosemarie (2011) “Misfits: a feminist materialist disability concept” Hypatia vol. 26, no. 3

 

Week 6 (3 April) from eugenics to genetics

·       Snyder, S. L. & D. Mitchell (2002) “Out of the Ashes of Eugenics: Diagnostic Regimes in the United States and the Making of a Disability Minority”, Patterns of Prejudice, 36:1.

·       Sujatha Raman and Richard Tutton (2010) “Life, Science and Biopower” from Science, Technology, & Human Values 35(5) 711-734

 

Week 7 (10 April): Consuming and representing health online.

·       Mitchell, David and Snyder, Sharon (2016) The Biopolitics of Disability, pp. 39-42; 175-9

·       Tembeck, Tamar (2016) “Selfies of Ill Health: Online Autopathographic Photography and the Dramaturgy of the EverydaySocial Media + Society

January-March 2016: 1–11

 

MID SEMESTER BREAK

 

Block 2: “Normal” lives

 

Week 8 (1 May) Working bodies

·       Thompson, E.P. (1967) “Work Discipline and Industrial capitalism”  Past and Present 38 pp.56-97

·       Dyer, S., McDowell, Banitzky, A. (2008) “Emotional labour/body work: the caring labours of migrants in the UK’s National Health Service” from Geoforum 39, 2030-2038

 

Week 9 (8  May) Ageing bodies

·       Crisp, J. (1995) “Making sense of the stories that people with Alzheimer’s tell: a journey with my mother” from Nursing Inquiry 133-140

·       Bulow, Morten Hillgaard and Holm, Marie-Louise (2016) “Queering ‘Successful Ageing’, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Research” Body and Society 22(3)

·       Lanoix, C. (2006) “No Room for abuse” Cultural Studies Vol. 19, No. 6 November 2005, pp. 719-736

 

Week 10 (15 May): Whose body? The human biome

·       No author “The human biome: me, myself, us” from The Economist Aug 18 2012 http://www.economist.com/node/21560523

 

Week 11 (22 May) Human and non-human animal bodies

·       Haraway, Donna (2011) “Awash in Urine: DES and Premarin® in Multispecies Response-ability” from Women’s Studies Quarterly 40(1&2)

 

Week 12: Assessment week (no lecture or reading, there will be tutorials to allow autobiographical reflection presentations)

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

MMCCS website https://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/faculties_and_departments/faculty_of_arts/department_of_media_music_communication_and_cultural_studies/

MMCCS Session Re-mark Application http://www.mq.edu.au/pubstatic/public/download/?id=167914

Information is correct at the time of publication

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’

Assessment tasks

  • Reflective summaries
  • Essay outline & meeting
  • Participation
  • Essay
  • Autobiographical reflection

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Assessment tasks

  • Reflective summaries
  • Essay outline & meeting
  • Participation
  • Essay
  • Autobiographical reflection

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • identify the ways in which ‘the body’ is understood and experienced across a range of contexts
  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Assessment tasks

  • Reflective summaries
  • Essay outline & meeting
  • Participation
  • Essay
  • Autobiographical reflection

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Assessment task

  • Autobiographical reflection

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • interrogate key concepts around ‘the body’ and normalising practices, showing an awareness of debates around definitions of these terms
  • effectively communicate a theoretically-informed account of the relationship between forms of knowledge and forms of embodied subjectivity and sociality
  • use key methods of critical analysis to discuss social, economic, legal and/or medical practices which focus on bodily-being
  • critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Assessment tasks

  • Reflective summaries
  • Essay outline & meeting
  • Participation
  • Essay
  • Autobiographical reflection

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’

Assessment tasks

  • Reflective summaries
  • Participation
  • Essay

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • critically discuss ethics in contemporary practices and debates around normalisation of ‘the body’
  • actively engage with the process of learning and reflect on own work to identify opportunities for further development

Assessment tasks

  • Reflective summaries
  • Participation
  • Essay
  • Autobiographical reflection

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Assessment task

  • Autobiographical reflection

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Assessment task

  • Autobiographical reflection

Changes from Previous Offering

The unit's name has been changed in 2017 - from "(Ab)normal bodies" to "Screening (ab)normal bodies" to reflect the number of screen texts discussed in the unit and the relevance of the unit to media and communication students.  Following this a number of changes have been made to the readings for this semester.  Readings focussing on the relationship between embodied experiences and the use of screens, such as Thomas and Lupton on pregnancy apps and Tembeck on illness selfies have been added to the reading list to reflect the change of name.  Other changes to the key readings ensure recent discussions of the relationships between human and non-human animals are considered as part of our reflections on "normal" embodiment, and to include some important recent publications such as Mitchell and Snyder's Biopolitics of Disability and Garland-Thompson's "Misfits". 

We are trialling autobiographical reflections for the first time in 2017.  This assessment has been devised to help students avoid thinking about the unit as relating simply to "others" bodies and to think about their own implication in the cultural shaping of "normal" and "abnormal" bodies.  The inclusion of an autobiographical reflection responds to educational theory which suggests deep learning is enabled when students can relate ideas to their own lives. To give some examples of how scholars can analyse their own embodied experiences, a number of extra readings which incorporate autobiographical reflection have been included in the key reading list (eg Crisp, Haraway, Finger) .

This year students can choose to submit a video (or audio) recording of their autobiographical reflection.  This option reflects the change of title and foregrounding of screen texts and practices around screen media in the unit.  It also enables some flexibility in presentation mode for students who are anxious about presenting face to face in front of the group, and creates opportunity for more time in class for those who choose to present face to face.

The weighting of the participation and essay components of the assessment have been reduced and the required length of the essay shortened to allow incorporation of the autobiographical reflection.  This change also reflects feedback from students in previous years.  Some students in previous years have reported feeling anxious about having to complete a heavily weighted 50% essay assessment.  The earlier deadline for the essay assessment reflects feedback that students across the university prefer staggered deadlines for their written assignments to avoid bunching of deadlines at the end of semester.