Queer Anthropology

Course content

Queer is both a theoretical body, an analytical outlook, a critical take, an activist strategy and for some an identity marker or a position. In the course ‘Queer Anthropology’ we set out to queer the discipline of Anthropology. Meaning, that we will explore and problematize norms, structures, hierarchies and the processes of normalization and Othering. We will look in to how these structures play out and what their consequences are. How do we recognize them in the field? In our everyday lives? In our universities and within Anthropology? And how can we challenge, unsettle and change them?

Readings and course discussions will address questions of gender, sexuality, hetero- and cisnormativity, race, ethnicity, whiteness, ableism, religion, colonialism, homo- and queernormativity, intersectionality, affect, privileges, norm-criticism, feminism, and activism in a variety of contexts.

To understand the continuous coming in to being of a Queer Anthropology, we will read central texts from both Queer Studies and Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality as well as texts that challenge and critique former texts and positions within both disciplines. Central to the class, is the quest for productive intersections between anthropology and queer (studies). Thus, we will ask: (how) can we queer anthropology? And how can we anthropologize Queer Studies? Where do Anthropology and Queer Studies work with/against each other? What are the frictions? And how can we use them to ask critical questions to/within both disciplines – questions which can contribute to important changes in both disciplines?

Some of you might be familiar with texts and/or have personal experiences and connections to communities and activism related to topics discussed in class. That is great, because queering our discipline is also about queering what we perceive as knowledge, as knowledge-sharing and -production, as well as learning. Throughout the course, we will therefore engage different forms of knowing and we will continuously strive to question hierarchies of knowledge, as well as who gets to be knowledgeable, objective and scientific. We will make an active effort to create a safer space for learning, growing and changing – both as academics, as activists and as allies.

Thus, we will explore the multiple meanings of “queerness” and pay special attention to the various ways we integrate our political positions and/or activism with our research and knowledge production.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, the students are able to:


  • identify and describe key theories and concepts in Queer Anthropology and the study of gender, sexuality and queerness.
  • describe and reflect on how these key theories and concepts have come about and how they have continuously been/could be challenged.
  • reflect on how gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, religion, age, and/or other structures of power and privilege are interconnected.



  • identify and question norms and structures in society – including in academia – and reflect on how a Queer Anthropology can contribute to challenging and changing them.
  • produce, structure and analyze their own data in the conduction of a small-scale (queer) ethnographic project.
  • evaluate and select among different scientific theories, methodologies and tools within the study of gender, sexuality, whiteness and queerness in their own analysis.
  • co-produce, discuss and present knowledge in an accessible manner both orally and in written form with peers as well as non-specialists.



  • critically reflect on their own position(s) in their studies/research projects and make changes accordingly.
  • formulate analytical, political and/or activist solutions to problems by combining anthropological/queer/trans/gender/whiteness/ decolonial studies, data and methodology.
  • continue their professional, political, personal or activist development, specialization and/or learning within Queer Anthropology.

Group work, cases, discussion games and exercises, mapping, lectures, portfolios, short essay, small-scale ethnographic project and a brief, in-class, conference presentation.

Reading list will be uploaded in Absalon.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio, .
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 3-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcomes.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Exam
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 93
  • Project work
  • 22
  • English
  • 207