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Contemporary Visions of Gender and Sexuality


Admission requirements

Not applicable


The seminar begins at the end of the sixties, with the second wave of feminism, and continues up to the most radical thought of today. We will consider how the genre of the manifesto frames feminist thought as a living theory—an intervention—to enact change in social orders. You will have the opportunity to write your own manifesto in order to examine how what is personal is also political. Alongside different kinds of written statements and theoretical interventions, we will read, view and discuss controversial artworks and literature, like Beyoncé’s Formation video (2016) and David Wojnarowicz’s hard-hitting prose about queer life under AIDS in “Living Close to the Knives” (1991). The weekly sessions are dedicated to different interventions made by agitated groups within feminist and gender studies, who want to develop the field in new directions and offer a staunch critique. Thus, in the postmodern era women’s studies shifts from critiquing the sexism of the male dominated canon to challenging its own habits of thought as it becomes institutionalized, such as essentialist thinking and single issue identity. We will engage with crucial theorizing that arrives via activism around the on-going AIDS crisis as well as self-determination for transgender, intersex and disabled people. Masculinity studies and queer theory were both launched to complicated and deepen our understandings of gender and sexuality beyond normative femininity and heterosexual orientation. Key concepts like geopolitics, performativity and post-feminism are also addressed as further interventions in how we envision gender and sexuality in contemporary times.

Course objectives

After completion of the course:

  • the student has the knowledge and understanding of the main current debates about the role that gender and sexuality play in culture, film and literature (from the 1960s to the present);

  • the student is capable of developing theoretical insights into gender and and sexuality as a discursive, social, technological construction through text and image analysis;

  • the student can recognize the role of gender and sexuality play in literature, film, and society, and futher, he/she is able to reflect critically on the sexual dimensions of literary and film criticism, historization, and debates on the future of gender and sexuality studies.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures mixed with workgroup class meetings

Assessment method


Analysis assignment
Group Zine (Complete/Incomplete, assignment completion is mandatory for course)
End-term Written Exam


Analysis assignment 30%
End-term Written Exam 70%


One exam that covers all course materials

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Longer academic texts are available through the ‘collegeplank’ in the University Library and can be copied on site. Shorter texts are posted on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis for classes, exams and final papers is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



For questions about the content of the course, you can contact Z. Cengiz MSc BA or Dr. T. Hui.

Student administration: Arsenaal
Coordinator of studies: ms. M.E. Dijkgraaf MA


For more information please check the website of the study program Film and Literature Studies.