Ethnographic perspectives on queerness, gender and sexuality

Course content

This course will critically analyse and challenge the ways in which we interpret contemporary perspectives of gender, sexuality and heteronormativity through ethnographic case studies. While modern, western societies openly debate the concepts of gender, sexuality, and LGBTQIA, a range of anthropological studies demonstrate how a multiplicity of (in)visible knowledge systems and practices across the world reshape the notion of queerness and gender fluidity in global and globalizing communities. With a comparative outlook between societies in the global north and south, we will explore and discuss gender in the 21st century. We will debate transgenderism and vulnerabilities, post-colonial queer cultures and discrimination, masculinity and femininity, power of beauty and aesthetics, and other critical topics such as non-conformity in sex work, and gendering of prisons/confined spaces, and relate these topics to identity formation in contemporary society.


NB:  This course is identical to AANA18115U The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality and thus not open to students who attended that course in autumn semester 2020.  

From fall 2024 the course is also offered to students at the

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Sociology

- Master Programme in Social Data Science

- Master Programme in Political Science

- Master Programme in Social Science

Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.

The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
Learning outcome


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



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



  • Engage anthropological methodologies from critical gender and sexuality studies to analyze the impact of gender binaries and heterosexual norms which construct societies, cultures and beliefs.
  • Critically analyze contemporary global social trends on gender and sexuality through anthropological accounts.

Lectures, peer-group exercises and presentations

Please see online schedule for room numbers and further information

Key readings:


Ortner, B.S. 2006 [1974]. Is female to male as nature is to culture? in Lewin, L., Feminist Anthropology. A Reader. Victoria: Blackwell publishing, pp.72-86


Butler, Judith. 2007. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York; Oxon: Routledge, 1–34 (Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire).


Abrams, Kathryn. 2011. “Performing Interdependence: Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor in the Examined Life.” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 21 (2): 72–89.


Butler, Judith. 2011. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. Oxon; New York: Routledge, xi–xxx (Introduction).


Butler, Judith and Taylor, Sunaura. 2002. “Interdependence.” In Examined life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers, edited by Astra Taylor, 185–213. London: Routledge.


Foucault, Michel. 1978. The History of Sexuality Vol. I: An Introduction, translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Pantheon Books, 51–73 (Scientia Sexualis).

Martin, Emily. 1991. “The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles.” Signs 16 (3): 485–501.


Meiu, G. P. (2015). Colonialism and Sexuality. The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (Volume 1), edited by Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin. Malden, Oxford: Wiley, pp. 239-242


Annamarie, Jagose. 1996. Queer Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York University Press, 101–149 (Contestation of Queer).


Butler, Judith. 1993. “Critically Queer.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 1: 17–32.


Eng, David. L., Halberstam, Judith and Muñoz, José. Esteban. 2005. “Introduction: What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now?” Social Text 84–85, 23 (3–4): 1–17.


McCann, Hannah. 2016. Epistemology of the Subject: Queer Theory’s Challenge to Feminist Sociology. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 44 (3-4): 224–243.


Seidman, Steven. 1994. “Queer-Ing Sociology, Sociologizing Queer Theory: An Introduction.” Sociological Theory 12 (2): 166–177.


Spargo, Tamsin. 1999. Foucault and Queer Theory (Postmodern Encounters). Cambridge: Icon Books.


Wilson, A. at al (2019). Queer Anthropology. In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology (eds) F. Stein, S. Lazar, M. Candea, H. Diemberger, J. Robbins, A. Sanchez & R. Stasch.


Kong, Travis S. K. 2020. “Toward a Transnational Queer Sociology: Historical Formation of Tongzhi Identities and Cultures in Hong Kong and Taiwan (1980s-1990s) and China (late 1990s-early 2000s).” Journal of Homosexuality.

Requires skills is reading and writing on qualitative research material

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

The students will receive oral feedback during the course for their writing assignments. During peer-group exercises and presentations, students will also receive peer-group feedback.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio, .
Type of assessment details
Length: Portfolio exam can be written individually or in groups of max. 4 students. Portfolio exams consist of 2-7 submissions. For MA students, there is a submission more than for BA students, i.e. if the BA student has to submit five submissions, the MA students must submit six submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must be max. 30,000 keystrokes for one BA student and max. 37,500 keystrokes for one MA student. For groups of two students, max. 40,000 keystrokes BA students and max. 47,500 for MA students. For groups of three students, max. 45,000 keystrokes for BA students and max. 52,500 for MA students. For groups of four students, max. 50,000 keystrokes for BA students and 57,500 for MA students. In the case of group assignments, the contribution of each individual student must be clearly marked in the assignment. For groups with both BA and MA students, the same number of submissions is required as for MA students. The assignments are assessed jointly with a single grade.
All aids allowed

Policy on the Use of Generative AI Software and Large Language Models in Exams

The Department of Anthropology allows the use of generative AI software and large language models (AI/LLMs), such as ChatGPT, in written exams, provided that the use of AI/LLMs is disclosed and specified (i.e., how it was used and for what purpose) in an appendix that does not count towards the page limit of the exam.


If AI/LLMs are used as source, the same requirements apply for using quotation marks and source referencing as with all other sources. Otherwise, it will be a case of plagiarism.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

1st re-exam: An essay must be submitted. The new assignment must be submitted by the deadline for the re-exam.

2nd re-exam: A new essay must be submitted. The new assignment must be submitted by the deadline for the re-exam.


Essay length:

One BA student: 21.600-26.400 keystrokes. For group responses, Min. 6,750 and Max. 8,250 extra keystrokes per extra group member.

One MA student: 27,000-33,000 keystrokes. For group responses, Min. 8,450 and Max. 10,300 extra keystrokes per extra group member.

For groups with both BA and MA students:
A MA and a BA student: 31,900-38,975 (BA: 14.175-17.325 KA: 17.725-21.650)
A MA and two BA students: 38,050 – 46,475 (BA: 11,700-14.300 KA: 14.650-17.875)
A MA and three BA students: 44,525-54,375 (BA: 10.475-12,800 MA: 13.100-15.975)
Two MA and one BA student: 41,000-50,050 (BA: 11,700-14.300 KA: 14.650-17.875)
Two MA and two BA students: 47,150-57,550 (BA: 10.475-12,800 MA: 13.100-15.975)
Three MA and one BA student: 49,775-60,725 (BA: 10.475-12,800 MA: 13.100-15.975)

Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Exam
  • 64
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See timetable
Department of Anthropology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Political Science
  • Social Data Science
  • Department of Sociology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Atreyee Sen   (11-4a7d7b6e826e6e375c6e77496a777d717b7837747e376d74)

Atreyee Sen
Amalie Lundberg Therkelsen

Saved on the 15-05-2024

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