LLM Crime and Gender

Students participating in a seminarModule leader: Professor Marie Fox

Module description:

The interface between crime and gender throws up many questions about how the contemporary legal subject is constructed, and why crime remains a predominantly male activity. This module examines a range of issues which show how the criminal justice system is gendered – both in how it defines criminal activity and how that activity is policed an prosecuted (including extra territorially) . We will thus examine criminal law in its social, cultural and supranational context, and interrogate the idea that criminal law embodies a set of universal values and principles. Therefore in reading cases and statutes our concern on this course is with what they reveal about the role of criminal law in society, so that the enforcement of criminal law will be given as much attention as its content.

To this end we will consider matters such as how offences (such as rape or homicide or white collar crime) are prosecuted and punished and why certain forms of behaviour are not criminalised. In particular, we want students to think critically about central themes which underpin the course such as harm, culpability, agency, responsibility and violence, and the issue of how the legal subject – for instance the female serial killer, or male rape victim is constructed, and where such constructions originate. Importantly, the course assumes that addressing gender involves a critical interrogation of masculinity as well as considering law’s impact on women’s lives.

Students are encouraged to examine the relationship between law and politics and law and morality; the difference between the law in the books and how law operates in practice; the question of how bodies are monitored and policed, and how matters of gender and sexuality intersect with race, culture, class etc in ways that might impact on the prosecution of criminal law. Overall the course offers a critique of the parameters and territory of the traditional criminal law course in examining how female and male offenders and victims are legally constructed.

Seminar topics:

  • Gendering Legal Subjects: An Introduction to Gender/Crime/Feminism
  • Masculinity and crime today
  • Legal constructions of homicidal women
  • Masculinity, racism and the perpetration of hate violence
  • Rape, Consent and Bodily Integrity
  • Masculinity and high status offending
  • Understanding men as victims of crime
  • Prosecuting crimes across borders
  • Regulation of body modification and genital cutting
  • Masculinity in the criminal justice system (policing)

Methods of assessment

Modules on the LLM programmes will be assessed in one of the following ways. As this website is set up in advance, it is not possible to specify which method of assessment will be implemented for each module.


  • One 6000 word essay


  • One 3-hour written examination

If you'd like to find out how a module will be assessed in the forthcoming academic year please contact the LLM Programmes Administrator at Law-LLM@contacts.bham.ac.uk.



Modules and Courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.