WS/AN/GS 215 - Sexuality and Gender

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students and critically engage with the various ways of theorizing and understanding gender and sexuality – from traditional and popular theories of gender and sexual development to theories that actively challenge these dominant ways of understanding gender and sexuality. This course will take a social constructionist perspective, to explore the ways in which gender and sexual identities are socially constructed, rather than innate or biological, and the implications of these constructions on our everyday lived experiences within a South African context. Specifically, this course will explore the ideology of heteronormativity and how heteronormative ideas around sexuality and gender mean that we are socialized to become particular kinds of gendered and sexual beings and that there are social, cultural, and political consequences when we do not.

Therefore, through critical engagement with numerous debates around gender and sexuality, this course will explore the implications of a binary view of gender and sexuality, and the way in which certain beliefs and norms about ‘women’ and ‘men’ are contributing factors to the pervasive nature of gender and sexual violence in South Africa. This course will also take an intersectional approach in exploring ideas around gender and sexuality since gender and sexuality cannot be viewed in isolation. In other words, our understanding of and beliefs about gender and sexuality are dependent on various intersecting identities such as culture, race, religion, nationality, geographical location, ability, and so on.

Course Information


Gender Studies
Women's Studies

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