AANK16106U  Gender Matters

Volume 2016/2017

Gender is central to understanding people’s lived experiences and life opportunities. As a key category of analysis in anthropology, gender informs and problematizes important bodies of knowledge within the discipline.

This course introduces students to the anthropological study of gender by drawing on ethnographic reflections from various regions as well as on key texts from within feminist anthropology, gender studies, queer theory and trans studies.

During the course, we will consider how anthropologists study the complex relationships between culture specific gender norms, colonialism, neoliberalism, war and health care systems. We will explore how subjects in multiple cultural settings negotiate gendered positions while critically examining how power structures based on race, class, sexual orientation, religion and nationality inform and reconfigure gendered subjectivities and experiences.

Through studying a varied range of topics such as drag balls, indigenous gender systems, trans people’s access to health care, feminist methodologies, intimate labor, war on terror, queer migration and kinship relations we will examine and challenge (also our own) normative and stereotypical understandings of gender.

This course will eventually enable students to develop critical anthropological insights into the ways in which norms and positions connected to gender and sexuality are reproduced, negotiated and challenged in different social and spatial contexts, and the students will be able to raise questions about how we as anthropologists understand, explore and are engaged in the life-worlds and people we work with.

Learning Outcome

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Obtain a familiarity with key theories and concepts in the study of gender and sexuality.

  • Comprehend the ethical dilemmas faced by anthropologists conducting fieldwork on gender and reflect on your own position(s).

  • Understand how anthropological knowledge about gender adds insight into ethnographic case studies.

  • Critically assess the relationship between gender and contemporary social and political problems.

  • Discuss how gender intersects with ethnicity, class, nationality, age, sexual orientation and power structures.

  • Show how anthropological analyses can contest normative understandings of gender and sexuality.

MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages of literature chosen by students

Literature chosen by students must be relevant to the course’s subject matter.

Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website

Class lectures.

Students will be expected to actively contribute to the common learning process facilitated during the course by:
• Thoroughly reading at least any one of the required readings per week and loosely reading the rest of the texts.
• Actively participate in class discussions and group work while checking your privileges and giving space to fellow students.
• Handing in all the portfolio assignments on time and present and discuss them in class.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Portfolio exam.
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

1. re-exam:

An essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date. The students must sign up for the 1. re-exam.

Please note that the re-exam is an essay even for courses, where the ordinary exam is a portfolio exam.

2. re-exam:

A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date next semester. The students must sign up for the 2. re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See description of learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam Preparation
  • 44
  • Seminar
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 120
  • Total
  • 206