ANTH3240 6.0 Sexing the Subject: Sexuality from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
Course director: Prof. David Murray/ Dr Michael Connors Jackman
Time: Tues. 2:30-5:30 VH3006
This course examines theories and practices of sexuality in our own lives and in the lives of people in other societies. In Canada 'common sense' notions about sexual behaviour assume essential and natural traits common to all humanity i.e., there are two genders, man and woman; they are related to each other through sexual attraction; sex is either for pleasure or for reproduction; and some sexual practices are deviant and immoral.
We begin this course by critically interrogating some of these assumptions, highlighting the development of biological determinism and social constructionism as dominant Western paradigms. We then turn to the study of sexuality in other societies, examining how anthropologists have tried to understand sexual practices and concepts that are, at times, very different from their own, and the various theoretical models through which these practices have been analyzed.
Throughout the course, we will critically reflect on how our own discourses about sex, sexuality, gender and society influence our understanding of people, and how these discourses have contributed to maintaining unequal social relationships. We will discover how in studying sexuality, history, politics, economics, race, and media must be all factored into the analysis. By the end of this course, we should have a better understanding of the range and meanings of sexual practices and discourses about sex cross-culturally.
Format: Three seminar hours