Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2124: The Politics of the Body

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

The module is divided into three parts. The first introduces students to the fundamental concepts and theories for discussing and assessing the practices. The second and third examine current contentious practices. Students will read academic literature, current laws and policies, and look at popular media discussing contentious practices to give them a range of perspectives and help them assess and discuss the topics. The introductory session will include an overview of expectations, some guidance on research methods and writing skills, the final session will review the main conceptual issues as applied to diverse practices, reiterate assessment expectations and include some deeper writing guidance following the first set of assessments and to prepare for their final submissions.


Part I: Concepts and issues

This part of the module will focus on understanding and distinguishing the core concepts necessary for discussing and analysing practices affecting the body.

We will discuss literature on bodily autonomy and bodily integrity, consent, cultural norms and practices.

Part II: Culture and religion

This part of the module will focus on contentious contemporary practices that are central to debates around culture and religion in culturally diverse societies.

For instance, child genital cutting and modification for religious and non-religious purposes, honour killings, dress codes and beauty norms.

Part III

This part of the module will focus on contentious practices that concern sex and reproduction.

For instance, abortion, pregnancy and maternity, surrogacy.  

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211 x 2 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study44Preparing for seminars, reading and research
Guided Independent Study84Completing assignments, reading, research, and writing

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).