Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ANTH2111: Sex, Reproduction and Love

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2111: Sex, Reproduction and Love

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Health, Illness and Society (ANTH1041) OR Being Human (ANTH1111)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide ecological, evolutionary and social anthropological perspectives on sex, reproduction and love. Topics may include sexual behaviour, conception, infertility, new reproductive technologies, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, birth, post-natal period, romantic love, maternal love and infant attachment.


  • The module will familiarise students with topics such as: evolutionary explanations for the origins of sexual reproduction, the evolutionary biology of human sexuality and the socio-cultural aspects of human sexuality, behaviour and cultural values; sex and gender development; biological and cultural theories of conception; ecological and social factors affecting fertility; medical intervention in conception and birth and the physiological and socio-cultural implications; strategies for birth and post-natal care; cultural views of post-partum women and lactation; the biological and social impact of fatherhood, evolutionary and sociocultural perspectives on romantic love, maternal love and infant attachment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Awareness of the value of social/cultural anthropology and biological anthropology in advancing understanding of human sexuality and reproduction as well as contemporary issues and problems associated with both of these aspects.
  • Appreciate the value of an integrated anthropological approach via the study of sex and reproduction, and the ability to differentiate between approaches that are specific to biological and social anthropology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Demonstrate links and difference between the ideas and approaches adopted by different anthropological approaches in the study of human sexuality and reproduction.
  • Critically evaluate evidence, concepts, arguments and assumptions featuring in the anthropological, biological and ethnographic material relating to human sexuality and reproduction.
  • Demonstrate ability to gather, evaluate and write coherently about sex, reproduction and love.
Key Skills:
  • How to keep an accurate and succinct reading log of key academic papers.
  • How to research relevant literature and construct an academic essay.
  • 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 and seminars: Subject knowledge will be delivered via lectures and discussion seminars that provide students with both an understanding of socio-cultural and biological anthropological perspectives on human sexuality and reproduction, as well as the value of an integrated anthropological approach.
  • Formative and summative assignments will require students to demonstrate links and differences between ideas and approaches adopted by different anthropological perspectives in the study of human sexuality and reproductive issues, and to critically evaluate the evidence, concepts, arguments and assumptions therein.
  • Formatives and summatives, together with seminars on specific topics will demonstrate student skills in gathering and evaluating anthropological data on human sexuality and reproduction.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Tutorials 6 Three each in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 6
Preparation & Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Assignment 2500 words 100% Yes
Component: Reading Log Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reading Log Between 50- 100 words per reading (article or chapter in a book or a report). 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative essay plan, formative reading log.

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