Undergraduate course

Music, Gender and Sexuality

Level of Study



Full time

Teaching semester


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 mass-mediated "popular" music of approximately the last century, coming from the industrialized West, we will also engage musics from other historical and geographical locations.

Learning Outcomes

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


The student..

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


The student..

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


The student..

  • have 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.

Required Previous Knowledge


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.

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 must be completed and approved before the exam.
  • 4-5 short reading responses spaced throughout the semester (200-300 words each) to be turned in before the lectures associated with those readings.
  • One end-of-semester presentation related to student's term paper.
  • Approved obligatory activities are valid for 2 semesters after they are completed.

Forms of Assessment

Assignment portfolio (mappevurdering) with two assignments:

  • One short written mid-term assignment (1000 words, +/-) based upon the course readings assigned during the first half of the course (25% of grade).
  • Term paper of ca. 4000-5000 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; and c) correctly and convincingly contextualize her/his analysis with respect to historical and sociocultural variables (75% of grade).

In order to pass the course, both assignments must be completed with a passing grade. The mid-term and final papers will be written in English.

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.


Contact Information

The study adviser can be contacted at: studieveileder@kmd.uib.no

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Portfolio assessment

    • Exam part: Part 1

      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Part 2

      Examination system
      Digital exam