Family, gender and sexuality

Course Description: 

This course is aimed at giving a general overview of approaches to family from a feminist perspective, with special focus on gender and sexuality. It strives to dismantle taken-for-granted assumptions about the family, explore its less widely acknowledged forms, and explore how it is influenced by gender, sexuality, race, and mainstream institutions such as the state or market forces. It is especially, but not exclusively, aimed at MA students whose research topic is in some way related to family or kinship. 

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will become familiar with some of the most important concepts and trends in contemporary kinship studies, with a special focus on gender relations;

Students will learn to deconstruct some general assumptions about family in Euro-American culture in general and their own cultural setting in particular;

Students will learn to apply the theories discussed in class to their own cultural setting and/or research field;

Students will improve their skills in analyzing case studies;

Students will improve their analytical skills during reading, group discussions and writing the final paper;

Students will develop their writing and presentation skills.


During the course, each student must give a short (10-15 minute) presentation of a chosen text in class, which includes a short summary of the text, the student’s personal reflections on the topic (based on her/his own experience or readings) and its relevance to her/his MA thesis topic. Students may choose this text from among the course material (in which case they present on the class when we discuss their text) or choose another one relevant to their research topic (the teacher is available for help in making this choice). In the latter case the student must present on one of the last classes of term. Students can also suggest for these two classes topics that have not been (adequately) covered during the rest of the course.

At the end of term students must submit a 10-15-page term paper one week after the end of term. This paper can be either a literature review connected to a given topic in the field of kinship studies (which may, of course, be connected to the student’s research topic) or the analysis of some primary material related to family (literary or media text, material collected during fieldwork) from a feminist perspective, based on the issues discussed during the course.


  • Active class participation: 25%
  • In-class presentation: 30%
  • Term paper: 45%