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Thematic Seminar: Gender, sexuality and language


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 24.

Please note that passing a Thematic Seminar (10 EC) in the second year, second semester, is an entry requirement for starting your thesis in academic year 2023-2024. You need to have passed a minimum of 100 EC of year 1 and 2 of the International Studies programme as well in order to start your thesis.


How do people construct sexual and gender identities through language? Why some of these identities are seen as dissident and non-hegemonic while others are perceived as “the norm”? Why do some cultures perform notions of masculinities and femininities differently? Finally, why is there a lack of scholars who identify as trans, and what does it tell us about the way we understand science? These are some of the questions we will discuss in this thematic seminar that explores the field of Queer Studies and, more specifically, that of Queer Linguistics.

Although Queer Linguistics is a recent study area that no longer holds a minority status, the discipline has been asymmetrically introduced and explored in different parts of the world. Since the 1970s, scholars have researched how queer/LGBTQIA+ communities use language worldwide. However, the literature on the intersectionality of language, gender, and sexuality has been published predominantly in and about English. More recently, researchers have also focused on how people discursively construct sexual-related aspects through languages, such as identities, desires, relationships, and sexual practices. In addition, these studies have focused primarily on how specific sexual identity categories use language (i.e., gays and lesbians) and excluded participants from other dissident sexualities (asexual, bisexual) and non-hegemonic gender identities (transgender individuals). Besides examining some of the theoretical and methodological matters and identifying gaps within the study area, students will look at context-specific issues through case studies of their choice, building up their knowledge of Queer Linguistics and Queer Studies.

The course will be taught as a combination of lecture and seminar and is divided into two parts: 1) a more theoretical approach to understanding what Queer Linguistics is and its research trends, and 2) hands-on activities in which students will work with qualitative analysis methods to design their project and write the final paper. In the first part, students will discuss the relevant literature to familiarize themselves with the field. In the second part, they will digitally collect a small data sample and analyze it in class. At the end of the course, students will write a final paper on a chosen topic and make a final oral presentation.

Course objectives

The Thematic Seminars for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the multidisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral and written presentation skills:

1. To explain clear and substantiated research results.
2. To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course:

  • in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;

  • in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;

  • using up-to-date presentation techniques;

  • using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;

  • aimed at a specific audience.
    3. To actively participate in a discussion

Collaboration skills:

1. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
2. To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques.
2. To analyse and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability.
3. To formulate on this basis a sound research question.
4. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
5. To formulate a substantiated conclusion.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
In-class participation 15%
Final Oral Presentation 15%
Research Proposal 20%
Final Research Essay (5,000 words) 50%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.


Students who score an overall insufficient grade for the course, are allowed resubmit a reworked version of the Final Essay. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Research Essay and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the Final Research Essay the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.

Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their essay. This will be considered a first submission of the final essay, however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their essay within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in the first version of their final essay. However, this first version counts as a resubmitted essay with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the lecturer.

Retaking a passing grade

Retaking a passing grade is not possible for this course.
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2022 – 2023.

Exam review 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 organised.

Reading list

To be announced.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.


Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 16 December 2022:

  1. On 16 December 2022 you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
  2. Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Thematic Seminars, in order of preference.
  3. Based on preferences indicated by 2 January 2023 the course Coordinator will assign you to one specific Thematic Seminar by 23 January 2023.
  4. Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thematic Seminar courses, or be allowed into a Thematic Seminar course in any other way.



The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 9 June 2023.