The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality

Course content

This course will introduce and challenge the ways in which we interpret contemporary sex, gender, sexuality and heteronormativity through ethnographic case studies and anthropological understandings. While many modern Western societies debate openly the concepts of gender, sexuality, and LGBTQIA, a range of non-Western anthropological studies from around the world demonstrate the knowledge and concepts that reshape the notion of queerness and gender fluidity in global societies. With a comparative outlook towards Western societies, we will explore and discuss the change of gender roles in the 21st century, transgenderism and vulnerabilities, post-colonial queer cultures and discrimination, power of beauty and aesthetics, and other critical topics such as LGBTQ sex work, non-conformity and transgender inmates in prisons, as well as their connection to gender identity formation in contemporary society.

Learning outcome


  • Empirically and theoretically challenge traditional understandings of gender and sexuality in different scholarly and non-scholarly perspectives
  • Ability to examine the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, culture, race, ethnicity, or class, and explore how they influence individuals’ identities.



  • Comprehend gender and sexuality through an anthropological lens.
  • Understand contemporary global gender issues and social movements through empirical studies and theories



  • Engage anthropological methodologies from critical gender and sexuality studies to analyze the assumption and impact of gender binaries and heterosexual norms which construct societies, cultures and beliefs.
  • Critically apply gender theories to analyze contemporary global social trends within anthropological contexts.

Lectures, peer-group exercises and presentations

BSc students and MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature

The teacher will publish 200-300 pages of supplementary literature.

Course literature will be available through Absalon.


Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

The students will receive oral feedback during the course and to their short writing assignment. The tutor will provide written feedback on the final essay. During peer-group exercises and presentations, students will also receive peer-group feedbacks.

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 2-7 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.
For groups writing together it must be clearly indicated which parts of the assignment each of the students has written.

The assignments are evaluated together with a total grade

NB: One (short) closed essay based on a set topic, and one (long) essay based on topic of choice during the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 133
  • Exam
  • 35
  • English
  • 210