BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Anthropology of Kinship, Gender and Sex

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOAN20802
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Anthropology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Who do you think you are? Kinship is at the heart of social life in every society, and kinship has been a central concern of social anthropologists since the beginning of the discipline. Kinship is inextricably bound up with issues of personal identity, concepts of personhood, and the formation of households. In this course we will examine how relatedness, relationships and identities are differently constructed and imagined. Anthropologists’ theoretical interests in kinship lead also to the interrogation of the relationship between sex and gender and open a window on to various understandings of masculinity and femininity - offering important insights into such topics as marriage, parenting, adoption, the family, and the role of the state. Matters of historical interest to social anthropologists will be investigated together with questions of contemporary concern.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Key Ideas in Social Anthropology SOAN10321 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
SOAN10312 is a Pre-requisite of SOAN20801 SOAN10321 is a Pre-requisite of SOAN20801

In order to take SOAN20801 Sex, Gender and Kinship you must have previously taken and passed EITHER SOAN10312 Cultural Diversity in Global Perspectives OR SOAN10321 Key Ideas in Social Anthropology



  • Interrogate the biological bases of kinship, gender, and sex;
  • Chart contemporary trends in the anthropology of kinship which have brought issues of sex and gender to the fore;
  • Situate the anthropology of kinship, gender, and sex in wider anthropological debates and issues;
  • Engage in a careful and critical reading of anthropological texts;
  • Productively discuss with classmates the key anthropological theories and debates in the anthropology of kinship, gender, and sex;
  • Apply anthropological approaches to kinship, gender, and sex to analyse and/or challenge understandings in the news, popular media, and films;
  • Write well-structured, clearly argued, and analytical essays engaging the anthropological literature on kinship, gender, and sex.


Learning outcomes

Having successfully completed the module, students will be able to:

  • Understand key readings and theories
  • Evaluate existing scholarship
  • Produce critical analyses

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and tutorials

Assessment methods

Small Activities - (25%)

Final Essay - 3,000 words (75%)

Feedback methods

You will receive formative feedback continuously throughout the course through participation in tutorials, as well as written summative feedback on your assignments. Students are also invited to make office hour appointments with their lecturer to receive feedback and discuss their progress.

Recommended reading

Carsten, J. (2000) Cultures of Relatedness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Méadhbh McIvor Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Length of course: 10 weeks



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