Sex, Gender, & Culture

ANTH 309 – Sex, Gender, & Culture

This course examines how people experience gender and sexuality in a variety of historical and cultural contexts. We will explore how biological sex and socially-constructed gender norms interrelate. We will examine how gender and sexuality relate to other categories of social identity and difference, such as race and ethnicity, economic and social standing, urban or rural life, etc. Students will gain a greater sense of the diversity of human social practices and beliefs in the United States and around the world.

Class time will consist primarily of discussion and team-based learning activities with occasional lectures, films, or guest speakers. Lectures will be devoted to the presentation of new material that is not covered in the reading and to explanation and exploration of the reading; you should get class notes from another student if you miss class. Regular attendance and participation in class discussion are keys to your success in this course. Slides and films are regular features of the class. Some of the films will be available for viewing at the Ekstrom Library if you must miss the class when they are shown.

Learning Goals

This course introduces an anthropological perspective on gender, sex and sexuality and the ways they are biocultural phenomenon. The course will explore, in depth, the methods anthropologists use to analyze culture and social institutions.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain and apply fundamental concepts such as gender, sex, and sexuality to a variety of cultural contexts.
  2. Analyze, interpret and evaluate a wide variety of information (scholarly publications, eyewitness testimony, ethnographic films, etc.), assumptions, and arguments about gender, sex and sexuality.
  3. Demonstrate their mastery of these concepts by engaging in discussion and writing clear, precise, and accurate essays on relevant questions related to gender, sex, and sexuality in multiple cultures.

Required Texts:

Cole, Jennifer. (2010). Sex and Salvation: Imagining the Future in Madagascar. Chicago: U of Chicago P. ISBN 978-0226113319

Hafez, Sherine. (2011). An Islam of Her Own: Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements. New York: New York UP. ISBN 978-0814773048’

Dewey, Susan. (2011). Neon Wasteland: On Love, Motherhood, and Sex Work in a Rust Belt Town. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520266919

Reddy, Gayatri. (2005). With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-70756-3

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