Faculty of Arts


Human Sex, Gender and Sexuality


What are ‘sex’, ‘gender’, ‘sexuality’ and ‘sexual desire’? How do the meanings and practices of sex, gender & sexuality differ across cultures, time, and place? Are these meanings and practices biologically or culturally driven? How do anthropologists study sex, gender & sexuality? How do dichotomies such as nature/culture, public/private, male/female shape our (Western) understandings of sex, gender & sexuality and popular debates on related issues? When did sexuality become an identity? How does globalisation blur boundaries and impact on individuals and communities in terms of sex, gender & sexuality customs and practices?

This course will examine, from an anthropological perspective, social constructions and cultural practices of sex, gender & sexualities. To do this we will consider how anthropology engages with and constructs sex, gender & sexuality as an object of knowledge and how, in turn, the discipline of anthropology has been shaped by its engagement with questions of sex, gender & sexuality. We will read both contemporary as well as classic texts in the Anthropology of human sex, gender and sexuality. The focus is on anthropological understanding of embodied, social, cultural and political phenomenon and on challenging our assumptions about the nature of things we take for granted as fixed and immutable.



Availability 2021

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Phyllis Herda




ANTHRO 211: 15.0 points


ANTHRO 100 or 30 points in Anthropology, Gender Studies, History or Sociology


ANTHRO 215 and ANTHRO 342

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