Sexuality and Development: Intimacies, Health and Rights in Global Perspective

Module code: 001A4
Level 7 (Masters)
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

The module will explore sexualities as sites of political contestation, claims to rights and intimate aspirations in context of global socio-economic transformations, international health and development practice. The module will bring together theoretical perspectives on sexual subjectivity and sexual life, worlds with a range of applied concerns relating to health, actvism and development policy, and programming internationally. In particular the module will examine ways in which 'dissident sexual subjects' have been imagined globally, often both included and marginalised in different domains, such as the community, the state and international policy fora.

Themes and issus addressed by the module will include:

  • Sexual subjectivities, intimate lives and global transformations
  • Heteronormativity in interntional development and health
  • HIV and AIDS: Epidemiology, anthropology and policy - contested engagements with sexual lives and 'key populations'
  • Citizenship, economies and queer abandonment
  • Sexuality, law and the state: Homonational contestations
  • UN agencies and (im)possible sexual subjects
  • Sexualities in transition: trans-subjectivites, trans-bodies and trans-nationalisms
  • Viral and virtual intimacies
  • Intimate economies: Sex work, sex and work
  • Collaborative action: working with NGOs on sexual rights and health
  • Creative engagement: visual ethnographic work on sexual life-worlds - globally
  • Advocacy and exclusions: Global dialogues, sexual rights, well-being and marginalisations 

Sexual life-worlds are increasingly interpreted in relation to global flows and transitions. One way in which connections between global processes and sexualities are becoming ever-more visible is in relation to new imaginaries of sexual identity and subjectivity, as mediated through transnational media, new communication technologies and the global momentum of neo-liberal capital. International development and heath practices are closely associated with such social processes as they seek to respond to the changing and enduring attributes of sexual lives, practices and risks in the context of wider concerns for well-being. The module will respond to such concerns and seek to equip you with both theoretical and practice based frameworks for engaging with a range of themes and issues related to sexuality and development.

The module will be interdisciplinary in focus, drawing more widely on literature from anthropology and the social sciences, international development, health, gender and sexuality studies. In particular the module will seek to explore a range of literatures comparatively, bringing theoretical perspectives on sexuality into dialogue with more practice-based literature, such as reports by UN agencies, NGOs and so on. Through class readings, and drawing on the experience of the tutor and your own experiences, the aim will be explore, contest and consider differing modes of engaging with sexualities on a global scale - as academics, health practioners, activists, development professionals and so on. The module will be taught via a combination of seminar-based readings and discussions, analysis of (ethnographic) film, reflexive class exercises and group presentations.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand theories of sexuality, and intimacy in global context - especially in respect of 'marginal' sexual subjects
  • Understand international discourses and practice in sexuality, health and rights
  • Engage theoreies of sexuality across a range of policy and practice-based conerns
  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in analysis of academc literature and other sources - in theory and application