MUSV3125 - Global Perspectives on Music, Gender and Sexuality


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

This course offers an introduction to the topics of gender and sexuality within music studies. Since the late 1980s, ethnomusicologists, popular music scholars, historical musicologists and music analysts have drawn on gender and queer theory to reveal how gender and sexuality are embedded in music performance, composition and production. Scholars have critiqued the white male canon of Western art music and investigated gender power relations in musical cultures around the world; they have addressed the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect through musical performance with other social categories, such as ethnicity, age, race and ability as well as proposing alternative ways of conducting and writing music history, ethnography and analysis; and they have reflected upon their own ethical roles as scholars and the potentials of socially engaged scholarship. Charting many of these debates, this course will investigate numerous contemporary artists, music traditions and musical institutions that urge us to enquire more about the global politics of gender and sexuality. The focus of individual lectures and seminars include: Beyoncé and Black feminism; the gendered nature of European nation building; David Bowie and masculinities; postcolonial feminisms in Africa; Björk and technology; Sámi music and ecofeminism; Turkish music and queer citizenship: musical commemoration of the 2016 Orlando LGBT nightclub shootings; and kothi and hijra dancers in India. As the rights of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people top political agendas around the world, this course will highlight the importance of gender and queer approaches in contemporary music studies.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:Students who complete this course will have:- gained knowledge on contemporary debates on gender and sexuality in music studies- deepened their understanding of wider interdisciplinary debates on gender and queer theory, particularly issues of intersectionality- learned about specific musical artists, traditions, performances and institutions which are embedded in issues of gender and sexualitySkills:Students who complete this course will have:- gained the ability to discuss musicological and wider gender and queer literature- developed their skills in assessing audio-visual material- deepened their expertise in presenting (both orally and in writing) original thoughts on current debates

Learning methods and activities

This course will consist of lectures and seminars with obligatory attendance (minimum 80% participation). Each lecture will address particular case studies and a specific debate on gender and sexuality within music studies; each accompanying seminar will introduce a text from wider interdisciplinary gender and queer studies that further deepens discussion of the lecture topic. Within each lecture and seminar, discussion will focus around set texts and audio-visual material as well as various materials prepared by students. Whilst the main set literature will be by scholars from various sub-disciplines of music studies, there will be a greater emphasis on literature from popular music studies and ethnomusicology. It is expected that students will be prepared to discuss these texts and their views on them at each lecture/seminar. Students are also required to keep a journal/diary charting their learning after each class. One week before the submission of semester essays, students will be required to give and receive peer-feedback on assignments.

Compulsory assignments

  • Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction
  • Journal/diary
  • Assignment peer-feedback

Further on evaluation

Students are required to submit two semester essays. One will be due at the end of the first semester, the second at the end of the course. Each essay should be 8-10 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5. If the course is not passed, the student must only retake the part of the assessment that was not passed. If the candidate retakes the exam, there is no need to retake the compulsory assignments.

Required previous knowledge

Requires admission to one of the Bachelor's programmes or Master's programmes in Musicology, Music Technology or Music Performance Studies.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Musicology
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

More on examinations at NTNU