Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


Department: ANTHROPOLOGY (HUMAN SCIENCES) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide a perspective on sexual behaviour in humans and non-human primates.
  • to study the biological processes of conception and birth together with the cultural concepts and social practices by which they are mediated.


  • The module will familiarise students with the reproductive and non-reproductive functions of sex on non-human primates, the socio-biology of human sexuality and the socio-cultural aspects of human sexuality.
  • Lectures and classes will cover: sexuality in non-human primates.
  • gender, sexuality and culture.
  • the psychosomatic characteristics of human sexuality.
  • homosexual behaviour and cultural values.
  • transsexualism, transvestism and gender dysphoria.
  • The module will also familiarise students with the biology of human reproductive behaviour and fertility and the variety of ways in which pregnancy and birth can be interpreted, managed and experienced.
  • Lectures and classes will cover: biological and cultural theories of conception.
  • ecological and socil factors affecting fertility.
  • controlling pregnancy and the birth process.
  • medical intervention in conception and birth and the socio-cultural implications.
  • strategies for delivery and post-natal care.
  • post-partum women and lactation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Awareness of the value of social/cultural anthropology and biological anthropology in advancing understanding of human sexuality and contempoarary issues and problems associated with human sexuality.
  • Students learn to distinguish approaches to the study of sex and reproduction that are specific to biological and social anthropology.
  • Students learn how perspectives from associated disciplines such as medicine, law and demographics inform and are informed by anthropolgical perspectives.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Demonstrate links and difference between the ideas and approaches adopted by different anthropologists, past and present, in the study of human sexulaity and reproductive issues.
  • Critically evaluate evidence, concepts, arguements and assumptions as these feature in the variety of anthropological and ethnographic material relating to human sexuality and reproduction.
  • Gathering and evaluation of qualitative anthropological data in the form of an original case study.
Key Skills:
  • How to undertake and complete a literature search.
  • Show initiative and adaptability through independent research and sustain a project based on a individual research.
  • Plan, organise and manage time and work to predetermined deadlines.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Essay
  • Case Study.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 Weekly 1 hour 22
Tutorials 8 Fortnightly (approx) 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
3000 word essay 100%
Component: Case Study Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
2000 word case study 100%

Formative Assessment:

Essay plans and abstracts; literature review of 2000 words

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University