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Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

Completion of Introduction to Gender Studies is recommended.


This course will introduce students to a (historical) anthropology of gender and sexuality in contemporary societies across the world. It will build on foundational theoretical discussions and debates on the social construction of gender and sexuality. We will reflect upon the production and regulation of gendered norms in society, their embodiment and performance, and transgressions. The course will also explore the intersection of gender and sexuality with other axes of identification, difference, and hierarchies such as race, religion, ethnicity, and disability. Through ethnographic readings, films, poetry and literature, you will learn about both the power structures (family and patriarchy, religion and nationalism, colonialism and globalization) within which discourses of gender and sexuality are embedded and the experiences of these in everyday life in different cultures. We will also explore how feminist knowledge and queer methodologies can disrupt received understandings of our social worlds.

Course Objectives

  • To think critically about gender and sexuality in relation to historical dynamics and normative prescriptions

  • To apply the theoretical and methodological learnings from the course to contemporary life

  • To use inter-textual analysis (combine textual readings with visual and oral material)


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 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, followed by a reading week. In each session we will be discussing key readings and apply their insights to different textual and visual materials. The lecturer will introduce the topic in each session, clarify difficult terms, as well as contextualize the readings. Students will be expected to come to class prepared and to participate actively in discussions. The assignments are introduced during the seminars and will offer the students the opportunity to apply their newly gained knowledge and academic skills. Written work must be submitted through Turnitin on Brightspace on time.

Assessment Method

  • In-class Participation: Students are expected to participate actively in classroom discussions and to bring in materials relating to the topics addressed (20% of final grade)

  • Presentation: Every student will (jointly with one or two peers) deliver a 10-15 minute (20% of final grade) presentation of one sessions readings, relate it to a current event and open up and lead the discussion. The discussion will be at least 30 minutes long.

  • Film review: Each student will submit a written review of a film screened in the class (20% of final grade)

  • Final essay: students (individually) submit an essay of 1500 words (40 % of final grade)

Reading list

To be distributed at the start of the course.

All articles and materials will be listed per week in the syllabus and can be accessed via Leiden University libraries. Material not available in the library will be provided by the instructor via Brightspace or email.


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. Radhika Gupta,