With globalization, sex—everywhere—has become more central to who we are as citizens and consumers, how we gain rights and resources, and how we relate to others as members of a specific race, ethnicity, region, or culture. Worldwide, states invest or disinvest in people according to how they have sex, adopt gender identities, or sustain sexual morality. Terrorist organizations claim to use violence to reestablish bastions of piety and sexual propriety; various populist movements imagine immigrants and refugees to threaten their societies, in part, by failing to uphold the sexual norms of adopting countries; and transnational NGOs and activists seek to “rescue” or “rehabilitate” sex workers, gays, lesbians, transgender, and other people vulnerable for their intimate and social lives. The growing importance of sex to a global consumer culture only heightens the rush to secure societies from the so-called “perversions of globalization.” Tourists now travel for sex to various destinations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean; poor, unemployed men and women, in former colonies, sometimes use sex as a means of enrichment and empowerment; and amidst the rise of religious fundamentalisms, commodity ads incite youths to consume sex along other goods to build authentic selves. In this lecture course, we ask: Why does sexuality become so central to how we imagine our world and futures? Why is sex so important in defining us, as subjects and populations? And how do older colonial stereotypes of race, ethnicity, and culture shape sexuality politics in the new global order? To address these questions, we explore about how sex and sexuality relate to politics and the economy.


The following are the primary texts used for this class and will be available on the course reserve at the Anthropology Library. Additional articles and chapters will be available online and will be announced at the beginning of the semester:

  • Dana Kaplan & Eva Illouz. 2022. What is Sexual Capital? Cambridge: Polity Press
  • Vaibhav Saria. 2021. Hijras, Lovers, Brothers: Surviving Sex and Poverty in Rural India. New York: Fordham University Press.








Kulturanthropologie, Gender Studies, African Studies, Politikwissenschaft, Soziologie, Ethnologie


Universitäre Hochschulen (UH)