HUMN 3078 The Anthropologies of Gender and Sexualities

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102349

Coordinator Helena Onnudottir Opens in new window

Description Examining the social construction of gender has been central to anthropological inquiries since the 1930s. Early ethnographic studies were instrumental in debunking gender essentialism and challenging the hegemony of western constructs about 'masculinity' and 'femininity'. Since the 1930s, critical Anthropological theories and ethnographies have through cross-cultural comparison, demonstrated the great variation in expressions of individual sexuality/ies, the dynamics and confines behind the construction of gender roles and the cultural meaning and expression of gender categories across the globe. This subject will address the ongoing exploration of and challenges to the sex (biology) vs. gender (culture) dichotomy and contemporary cultural, social and political transformation (manipulation) of these categories.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Anthropology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) HUMN 1016


Successful completion of 80 credit points in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Analyse the concepts and theories of the Anthropologies of Gender and Sexuality.
  2. Produce a reflective and comparative analysis on cross-cultural case studies.
  3. Critically analyse the gender diversity across human cultures and societies.
  4. Apply Anthropological theory to contemporary case studies.
  5. Articulate some of the ways biological categories are culturally mediated.

Subject Content

Anthropology of gender.
Anthropology of Sexualities.
Masculinities/femininities/third gender categories.
Gender and power
Cultural constructs vs. biological determinism.
Cross-cultural comparison of gender roles.
Fluidity and diversity of human sexualities.
To do or not to do? Sex and taboos.
The gendered body


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Reflection 2 x 200 words 20 N Individual
Essay 2000 words 50 N Individual
Case Study 2 x 300 words 30 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Lyons, A.P. and H.D. Lyons (eds.) (2011) Sexualities in Anthropology: A Reader, Wiley-Blackwell

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Helena Onnudottir Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window



Subject Contact Helena Onnudottir Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window