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The Desire for the Other: Gender and Ethnicity


Admission requirements

Not applicable


In this course we explore a range of culture-specific notions of gender and sexuality by studying intercultural interactions among belief systems. We will see that conceptions of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity are closely interwoven. We begin with the groundbreaking research of Margaret Mead, Frantz Fanon, Sander Gilman and Lillian Smith. These and other theorists introduce us to key concepts for studying the effects of empire and colonialism on masculinity/femininity, like orientialism and intersectionality. Then we continue with exploring the status of women worldwide through the approach of transnational feminism. We consider the erotic image of cultural others, and hot button issues like headscarf debates, female circumcision, and homosexuality in different religions. We give special attention to the role of literature, theatre and film in these social processes with a new case study being considered each week.

Course objectives

After completion of the course:

  • the student has knowledge and understanding of the main historical debates about the role of gender and sexuality in intercultural processes and practices such as colonization, tourism, prostitution;

  • the student gains historical and theoretical insights into how race and ethnicity ar closely interwoven into gender and sexuality as a discursive, social construction and recognize how it becomes situated in different periods;

  • the student is able to deploy insights and concepts from different disciplines and historical periods in the analysis of literature, film and other artistic and cultural objects and practices from different regions, which take into account the cultural identity, but also with transnational relationships between regions worldwide, and their mutual influence.


Maandag 11.15-13.00


Mode of instruction

Lectures mixed with workgroup class meetings

Course Load

140 hours
Lectures: 12 hours
Class preparations (readings): 100
Assessment (assignments, exam): 28

Assessment method

One short analysis assignment (20%); Exam (80%)


Blackboard will be used for communication, providing literature and/or other study material, for turnitin, and where applicable for reading and writing assignments, discussion forums, peer feedback, and to ask questions to the teacher and/or fellow students.

Reading list

Longer academic texts are available through the ‘collegeplank’ in the University Library and can be copied on site. Shorter texts are posted on Blackboard.


Students should register through uSis.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.
If you have any questions, please contact the student administration, tel. 071 527 2251 or mail.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Coordinator: Dr. Eliza Steinbock
Teacher: Dr. Liesbeth Minnaard
For other practical information, please, turn to the student administration tel. 071 527 2251 or mail.


For more information please check the website of the study program Film and Literature Studies