Not available in 2024/25
AN488      Half Unit
Gender, Sexuality and Kinship

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Catherine Allerton and Dr Nicholas Long

This course will first be available during the 2025/26 academic session.


This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Social Anthropology and MSc in Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course provides an examination of the cultural frameworks and social aspects of gender roles, personhood, human sexuality, and kinship systems, analysed through ethnographic examples from a diverse range of settings. It aims to equip students with the analytical tools to engage in theoretical debates concerning core concepts such as ‘gender’, ‘sexuality’, 'kinship', 'marriage', and the relationship between 'nature' and 'culture', as well as exploring how the experiences of gender, sexuality, and kinship vary according to the regimes of politics, law and materiality in which they are embedded.

The course charts the history of anthropological debates on sex and gender, sexuality, kinship, and relatedness, and familiarises students with a range of contemporary approaches to these themes, placing ethnographic materials into a critical dialogue with recent developments in theoretical fields such as feminist theory, queer theory, the anthropology of colonialism, cognitive science, and psychoanalysis.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the WT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the WT.

Indicative reading

  • Carsten, J. After Kinship (2003);
  • Chodorow, N. The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender and Culture (1999);
  • Donnan, H. and Magowan, F. The Anthropology of Sex (2010);
  • Levi-Strauss, C. The Elementary Structures of Kinship (1969); 
  • Lewin, E and Leap, W. Out in public: reinventing lesbian/gay anthropology in a globalizing world (2009);
  • Moore, H. L. A Passion for Difference: Essays in Anthropology and Gender (1994);
  • Stone, L. Kinship and Gender: An Introduction (2006).


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2023/24: Unavailable

Average class size 2023/24: Unavailable

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills