Music, Gender and Sexuality

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Gender and sexuality ¿ linked, though distinct ¿ exist within and are productive of a complex matrix of social and biological ¿facts,¿ and discourses. This course will introduce and examine the ways in which musics and musical discourses are implicated in the constructions of genders and sexualities. It will also consider the connections between such constructions and specifically affective forms of expressive culture.

We will examine these issues through theoretical (sometimes ethnographically or sociologically based) texts, as well as audio/visual materials. Although much of the focus will be on massmediated ¿popular¿ musics of approximately the last century, coming from the industrialized West, we will also engage musics from other historical and geographical locations. This is a theoretical course that require some basic academic level of knowledge. Weekly required readings will likewise be theoretical and often complex.

This is a theoretical course that require some basic academic level of knowledge.
Weekly required readings will likewise be theoretical and often complex.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes:


The student¿

  • has a solid knowledge of several foundational theoretical texts devoted to the critical examination of gender and sexuality.
  • can demonstrate a broad knowledge of numerous styles and genres of music from varied historical and geographical locations.


The student¿

  • has the skill to independently work with source materials and theoretical texts to examine the ways in which culturally and historically contextualized musics and musical practices are produced by and productive of constructions and discourses of gender and sexuality.

General competences

The student¿

  • has competence in using seminal and contemporary texts in gender and sexuality studies in the critical examination of musics and musical practices.



ECTS Credits

15 stp

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
  • Minimum of 60 credits undergraduate coursework in the humanities or social sciences.
  • High proficiency in English.
  • Some facility reading complex, theoretical texts (in the humanities).
  • Access to the Course
    The course is open for all students at the University of Bergen.
    Teaching and learning methods

    One semester of lectures including audiovisual examples.

    • Participation in in-class discussion seminar devoted to students' papers.


    • In advance of each lecture, it is expected that the students read and prepare to discuss the required pensum readings assigned for that meeting.
    Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Attendance at lectures and seminars.
  • All instruction is obligatory; absence of more than 20% leads to loss of right to take the exam.
  • All mandatory instruction and compulsory requirements must be completed and approved before the exam. Approved obligatory activities are valid for 2 semesters after they are completed.

    Forms of Assessment

    One assignment:

    Term paper of ca. 4500-5000 words. This paper will focus on a specific work, corpus of works, genre/style, and/or theoretical question relevant to the course, and must exhibit that the student has been able to

    a) formulate a valid research question;

    b) find appropriate academic literature and enlist a relevant theoretical focus to support her/his thesis;

    c) correctly and convincingly contextualize her/his analysis with respect to historical and sociocultural variables.

    The lectures and the assignments will be given in English. The students are encouraged to write the papers in English, but can choose to write in Norwegian, if preferred.

    Internal evaluation with at least two examiners.

    Grading Scale
    Letter grade from A to F.
    Reading List

    Approx. 800 pages of core curriculum, as well as audiovisual examples as course readings, with an additional 200 pages, chosen by the student in consultation with the teacher, related to student¿s final research paper.

    The literature list will be available by 01.06. for the Autumn semester and 01.12. for the Spring semester.

    Course Evaluation
    The course will be evaluated in accordance with the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.
    Programme Committee
    The Program Board is responsible for the academic content and structure of the study program, and for the quality of all the subjects therein.
    Course Administrator
    The Grieg Academy - Institute of Music at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.