Research on sexuality and related topics such as gender, reproduction, and kinship relations has figured prominently in anthropology since the formative years of the discipline. Work carried out in the s and s by anthropologists such as Margaret Mead and Bronislaw Malinowski was pioneering both in developing cross-cultural comparisons of diverse sexual mores and customs and in legitimizing ethnography as a key methodological approach for the study of sexuality. Anthropological research has focused on the investigation of sexual cultures and the social and cultural construction of sexual practices, playing an especially important role in documenting sexual diversity and same-sex sexual relations in different societies, including contemporary Western society. As this body of work developed during the s and the s, it also addressed the cultural and social dimensions of a range of important practical issues, such as the HIV epidemic, the changing shape of reproductive health and new reproductive technologies, sex work, tourism, migration, same-sex marriage, and globalization.
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Sexuality - Anthropology - Oxford Bibliographies
This course draws on anthropological literature to study the socio-cultural making of human sexuality and its variations, including theories of sexuality as a domain of human experience. It seeks to critically examine some of the most intimate and often taken-for-granted aspects of human life and locate sexual acts, desires and relations in particular historical and cultural contexts. The course offers analytical tools to understand and evaluate different methods and approaches to the study of human sexuality. As we read about the bodily experience of sexual pleasure, we will explore how sexual taboos, norms and morality develop in various cultures and why sex acquires explosive political dimensions during certain historical periods. The course will explore the gendered and racial dimensions of human sexual experience in the context of class, nation and empire.
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FOUNDATIONS OF THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF GENDER
Describe ways in which gender and sexuality organize and structure the societies in which we live. Assess the range of possible ways of constructing gender and sexuality by sharing examples from different cultures, including small-scale societies. Analyze how anthropology as a discipline is affected by gender ideology and gender norms. Living in the twenty-first century, we have witnessed how rapidly and dramatically culture can change, from ways of communicating to the emergence of same-sex marriage. Similarly, many of us live in culturally diverse settings and experience how varied human cultural inventions can be.
Sophie A. Maksimowski , University of Guelph Follow. This article provides an overview of the historical development of theory in the Anthropology of Sexuality. Taking a Foucaultian perspective, the discourse on sexuality that emerged in the Victorian era will be critiqued as a constructed tool to ensure social and moral conformity. Discourse, particularly with respect to sexuality, has been a means to conscript bounded groups of people to serve historically defined goals in the production of knowledge.
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