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Contemporary Visions of Gender and Sexuality


Admission requirements

Not applicable


This course 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. The student 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. The weekly sessions are dedicated to different interventions made by marginalized 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, disabled, and indigenous 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 intersectionality 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, they are able to reflect critically on the sexual dimensions of literary and film criticism, historization, and debates on the future of gender and sexuality studies.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  1. Mid-term paper assignment
    1500 words
    individual assignment
  2. Take-home end-term exam Essay style questions
    Duration of the exam: ca. 2 hours
    Time the exam is available: 8 hours
    Individual assignment
  3. Creative writing assignment
    500 words
    Completion is mandatory for this course
    Individual Assignment


  1. Mid-term paper assignment (50%)
  2. Take-home end-term exam (50%)
  3. Creative writing assignment (complete/incomplete)

To complete the course successfully, students need to score a 5,5 or higher on the End-term Take-Home Exam, have a weighted average of at least 5.5 for the entire course, and complete the creative writing assignment.


  1. Re-sit Paper Assignment 50%
  2. Re-sit Take-Home Exam 50%

The Re-sit deadline for the Mid-term Paper Assignment is 10 working days after the grades are published.
Students who score lower than a 5,5 on the End-term Take-Home exam, or students who have a combined average lower than 5,5 for the course are eligible for the Re-sit Take-Home Exam covering material from the entire course.

Inspection and feedback

Feedback on assignments and exams will be published via Brightspace with the assignment or exam results. 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

The reading list will be made available up to a few weeks before the start of classes. Most assigned texts will be available online via the Leiden University Library. Texts that are not available online will be made available via a reading shelf in the library.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal.