nl en

Introduction to Gender Studies


Admission requirements

Required course(s):



In what ways does gender play a role in our daily lives and in our societies? How are our understandings and performances of gender and sexuality shaped by discourses and how do they inflect discourses in turn? How have perceptions of gender been changing and how do they vary across time and place? How do formations of gender interact with sexuality, race, class, and disability? How do material factors and emotions interact with discourses in shaping gender? And, finally, how can we approach gender in a variety of manifestations and connect theory to practice?

The course will address these and related questions by providing an overview of ‘classical’ and contemporary theorizations of gender as well as looking at some differences in defining gender issues and shaping gender politics. Navigating the field of gender studies, we will look into the history of debate about gender and sexuality, and the key definitions developed by feminist critics. Our seminars will cover a range of analytical domains pertaining to the study of gender, including black feminist theory, masculinity studies, queer theory, and transgender studies. Students will be introduced to a variety of materials (texts and film, mass and new media, everyday practices) and interdisciplinary approaches to working with different types of data.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • describe the main conceptualizations of gender, including its intersections with other
    categories of difference such as race, class, sexuality, and disability;

  • reflect on the changing history and regional differences in discourses of feminism;

  • outline major theories of gender and sexuality and relate them to current social debates;

  • explain major approaches to analyzing gender practices in various disciplines/fields of
    study (cultural and media studies, art and literature, sociology, anthropology, education);

  • prepare and deliver group presentation;

  • write an analytical essay.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction


Assessment Method

  • In-class participation (attendance), 15%

  • Presentation (in groups of 2-3), 15%

  • Mid-term take-home exam (short essay questions), 30%

  • Final essay, 40%

Reading list

All readings will be available via Leiden University Library’s digital catalogue or, in some cases, Brightspace.


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. Lieks Hettinga,