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Religion, Sexuality and Social Order



In this course we will investigate the role and function of religion in the development of ideas on sexuality and the human body in relation to social order in different cultures. Among other aspects we will pay attention to the way the human body is being used as a classification mechanism, to differences and similarities concerning sexual moral in different cultural systems, and to the cultural and societal meaning of all this in terms of social control and power.

Course objectives

Students aquire historical and social scientific knowledge about the relationship between religion, ideas on sexuality and the human body in relation to social order. They have insight in the development, function and symbolic meaning of all this in different religions. They are able to formulate relevant research questions based on literature search, to present results of their inquiries before an audience, and to write a paper that meets the standards of scientific work.


Timetable Religiewetenschappen

Mode of instruction

Seminar with presentations. Attendance and participation are mandatory. Classes may be missed no more than twice and only in exceptional circumstances (at the discretion of the conveners and only with prior notice). Absence without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Course: 2×13=26 hrs.
Literature study: 100 hrs.
Coaching: 16 hrs.
Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method

  • Practical assignment: before being admitted to the assessment tests, students will have to do a practical exercise (e.g. Attendance and participation in discussions) graded with satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Only students who have made a satisfactory Attendance and participation in discussions will be admitted to the assessment tests. However, practical exercises do not count to the final grade.

  • Presentation: 40 %

  • End term paper: 60 %

The paper may be resubmitted if a grade less than 5.5 has been received in first instance. Rewrites must be resubmitted within 2 weeks.




Chr. Manning & Ph. Zuckerman (eds.), Sex and Religion (Belmont, CA 2005)
S. Coakley (ed.), Religion and the Body (Cambridge 2000)

Other readings and literature: tba

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Dr. W. Hofstee