Anthropology (ANTH) 378

Human Sexualities (Revision 1)

ANTH 378 Course website

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Sciences

Prerequisite: ANTH 275 or equivalent.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

ANTH 378 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Anthropology 378 provides a comprehensive introduction to various topics relating to the study of human sexualities from an anthropological disciplinary perspective. Sexuality is one of the most complex dimensions of the human behavioural and cultural mosaic, and its diversity of expression raises many questions about our biology and culture, and how these domains might intersect. This eight-part course addresses a number of these questions using approaches from within the two main sub-disciplines of anthropology; biological and cultural. Throughout the course, you will also engage with materials that analyze and critique the very endeavour to try to “explain” human sexuality, and how various forms of cultural “privilege” can bias our interpretations and acceptance of sexuality in all of its forms. The primary goal of the course is to have you acquire a broad range of knowledge and awareness about human sexuality, how it is studied and critiqued, its diversity across cultures and societies, and also about some of the underlying similarities across all cultures that might say something about our “sexual nature.”


  • Unit 1: Perspectives on Sexuality
  • Unit 2: The Natural History of Gender and Reproduction
  • Unit 3: Sexualities in Other Cultures
  • Unit 4: Same-sex Sexualities
  • Unit 5: Beyond the Binary: Multiple Genders, Intersexed Individuals, and Transsexuals
  • Unit 6: A Forgotten Plague? HIV and AIDS in Other Cultures
  • Unit 7: My Body, My Temple: Body Modification and Genital Cutting
  • Unit 8: What’s Love Got to Do with It?  Notions of “Love” and Desire in a Cultural Context


Your final grade in this course will be based on the marks you achieve on three telephone quizzes, two essay assignments, and a final exam.

To receive credit for ANTH 378, you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on the final examination, and a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Telephone Quiz 1 5%
Essay Assign. 1 25%
Telephone Quiz 2 5%
Essay Assign. 2 30%
Telephone Quiz 3 5%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Ferber, Abby, Kimberly Holcomb, and Tre Wentling. 2017. Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: The New Basics. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press

Lancaster, Roger N. 2003. The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fausto-Sterling, Ann. 2012. Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World New York/London: Routledge.

Other materials

The course materials also include a study guide, course information, and reading and video files.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ANTH 378 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, July 13, 2016.