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Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality


Admission requirements

Introduction to Gender Studies, Global Challenges: Diversity, or explicit permission of the instructor.


This course is designed to train students to reflect critically on the historical, social and cultural embeddedness of gender and sexual practices, relationships, and imaginaries in Europe and beyond. Sexuality and gender represent crossroads where our bodies intersect with social organization and (sub)cultural diversity: they relate to power and inequality, but also to desire and identity. These intersections account for a large part of contemporary social life. The focus in this course is on the historical anthropology of gender and sexuality in contemporary societies. That is to say, on how gender and sexuality articulate with hierarchies of race, ethnicity, class, and cultural distinction – and the relationship between gender and sexuality, modern capitalism, and modern imperialism. In this course, you will engage with critical approaches to gender and sexuality in relation to globalization; the racialization of postcolonial immigrants, the emergence of increasingly multicultural societies, the advent of feminism and gay liberation, the relative progress in gender equality, and the diversification of gendered and sexual subcultures. Participants will not only learn the latest theoretical developments in the fields of gender and sexuality, more crucially they will gain knowledge about the social construction of gender and sexuality in contemporary societies.

Course Objectives

  • Students develop and learn to apply knowledge of the ways in which gender roles, representations of the body, and normative prescriptions regarding sexual behavior are embedded in particular historical dynamics, like the rise of nationalism and the development of modern capitalism;

  • Students develop tools to analyze and explain the ways in which normative ideas about gender intersect with other structures of power and difference

  • Students acquire intellectual familiarity with different theoretical points of view, including feminist; marxism; performativity, posthumanism; and queer perspectives, and learn to apply this knowledge in their own work;

  • Practice and improve their English-language communications skills in written assignments and in verbal expression during class presentations and guided discussions about the reading materials.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course will be conducted as a discussion seminar, with two 2-hour sessions per week, running from week 1-7. In each session we will be discussing key readings and apply their insights to different textual and visual materials. The lecturer will provide reading guide-lines, clarify difficult terms, as well as contextualize the readings. Students are expected to participate actively in classroom discussions and to bring in materials relating to the topics addressed.

Assessment Method


Reading list



Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. J. Rana,