Summer 2024 - SA 337 D100

Sexuality and Society (S) (4)

Class Number: 3142

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Elle Walks
    Office Hours: Tuesdays 10am-11am
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



The categories that organize our understandings of sex, gender and sexuality have powerful histories and roles in organizing social relations in western society. Social activists and academics contest the naturalness of these categories, particularly that of the binary opposition between male and female, and related assumptions about sexuality and sexual orientation. This course encompasses a range of perspectives on sex/gender identity, sexuality, and the relationship between the two. These perspectives include feminist, lesbian and gay, and queer and transgender challenges to traditional understandings of sex/gender identity and sexuality.


“Like gender, sexuality is political. It is organized into systems of power, which reward and encourage some individuals and activities, while punishing and suppressing others.”
(Gayle Rubin “Thinking Sex.” Deviations 2011 [1982], 189)


While sociologists have been interested in sexuality since almost the beginning of the discipline, the sociological study of sexuality/sexualities really blossomed in the 1960s, and it continues strongly today. Sociologists are interested in issues of power and socialization, as well as social institutions. This means that a sociological approach to sexuality considers the roles and relations of sexuality with colonialism, government, religion, education, media, peers, and family. Our course investigates these in conjunction with looking at the social construction of sexuality, our (individual and socially) taken-for-granted assumptions about sexuality/sexualities, as well as how experiences of sexuality are shaped by the social institutions we engage with. Specifically, we will consider the experiences and identities within immigrant communities, sexual minority communities, online communities, and activist communities. An intersectional approach will be taken, that focuses mainly on gender, race, religion, and disability. Queer experience will be a main focus. We will consider how various (overlapping, and sometimes contradicting) social institutions impact our sexual beliefs and practices. While most readings are explicitly sociological, materials from other disciplines help to provide a more nuanced look at how we think about sexuality, and how it impacts our lives.

*NOTE: Due to the subject matter, content is sometimes quite explicit.


  • Participation 10%
  • Module Quizzes (x4 - Canvas) 20%
  • Discussion Questions (x4 - Canvas) 20%
  • Paper Proposal/Annotated Bibliography 20%
  • Final Paper 30%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.




All readings, videos, and materials will be available on or via Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.