Week 1: Talking about sex
We explore the language and conceptual frameworks within which we’ll be talking about sex and the sexes. Basic evolutionary biology, the scientific method and population statistics are all reviewed. This introduction establishes the grounds for claims made in the course.
Week 2: What is sex?
Sex and the differences between male and female are things that most people believe they understand, but do we? Using molecular chemistry and evolutionary biology, this class answers the rather central questions: what sex is, how it came to exist, and what fitness benefits it provides.
Week 3: How the battle began
The sexes have always been at battle. This week we examine the intra- and inter-genomic battle: male and female genes right from the start fight over determination of the fetus’ sex. We usually assume mothers and fathers have a shared investment in their offspring, but is that always, necessarily true?
Week 4: Sexual dimorphism: reproductive strategies
In every sexual species a variety of forces, including the traits of the opposite sex, mold each sex into a particular form. In each species there is a range of differences between the sexes. This week we examine the nature and consequences of different reproductive strategies.
Week 5: Sexual dimorphism: personality
This week our discussion of sexual dimorphism turns to an examination of the Big Five personality traits. First we review the history of the Big Five, then ask what are the sex differences, their evolutionary roots, and the social and interpersonal implications for the relationships between the sexes?
Week 6: Evolutionary mismatch and the applied biology of our current situation
Social organizations express a balance of fitness interests. Agriculture, industry, the welfare state, and contraception have all played a role in the current state of the battle of the sexes. From Playboy to feminism to MGTOW, we try to make some sense of it all through the lens of biology.