Your term paper will focus on the culture of human sexuality. In this course we have learned that many popular assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality as “natural” are in fact deeply “cultural,” but what does this mean? What is the advantage of thinking more critically about human sexuality as “cultural?”
Need to use at least three attached readings as reference.
Your final term paper will make an argument for the importance of a critical understanding of human sexuality as “cultural.” To guide you, consider how you would respond to a friend/relative/family member who strongly believes that our gender, sex, and sexuality are “natural,” or biologically determined?
It is up to you how you want to build your argument, but you are required to draw on as much of the scholarly literature from this course as you can to support your thesis. The important part of this assignment, is that you will be making an argument to someone who is not familiar with this scholarly literature, so make sure you define your terms. You are also required to support your argument with as many cross-cultural examples from this course as you can. You are free to use outside sources, but it is not required. The minimum length for this essay is 1000-1500 words, but you are free to write more if you’d like.
There are a number of strategies one can take to argue that human sexuality is “cultural.” It may also be helpful to explore the evolutionary aspects of sex, and the acknowledgment that there is a biological, or “natural” aspect of our sexuality, drawing on human evolution and the our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, the great apes. In what ways are human and non-human primate sexualities different and similar? What are the arguments of cultural constructionists and biological determinists within the realm of human sexuality? It will also be essential to consider the “cultural” dimensions of sexuality. Some other questions one may consider are, how has science conceptualized human sexuality? In what ways has the scholarly understanding of sexuality changed? How do contemporary biologically and culturally focused anthropologists understand human sexuality today, and how do they differ? What kind of political/social marginalization are we supporting when we uncritically conform/perpetuate gender norms? How do gender and other identity categories mark difference and reflect power relations in the United States, or elsewhere, and what are the consequences of this social stratification? You certainly do not need to answer all of these questions, and you can certainly create other questions you think are important.
Below is the rubric for how these will be graded.
Grading Rubric: 25 points
Thesis Statement: 8 points
Course Material/Cross-cultural Examples: 9 points
Critical Thinking: 8 points
Structure/Format/Citations/References: 8 points
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