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Gender's impact on the course of our lives

Gender – the social patterning of distinctions between the sexes – is a complex element of social and cultural existence with far-reaching implications for the course of our lives. It shapes the work we do and how we spend our leisure time, our income, our family relationships and friendships, what we eat and how we dress, and even how we speak and move.

In the past few decades, theoretical and everyday notions of gender and sexuality have undergone dramatic changes, influenced by both changes in the organisation of society and by a rapidly expanding field of critical inquiry. The field continues to produce dynamic research which is the focus of our teaching.

What do we teach?

Gender Studies programme staff bring a cultural studies approach to gender and sexuality, with a focus on both contemporary and historical issues.

We offer a focus on New Zealand and international debates in the areas of identities, place, memory, masculinities, victimhood, embodiment, intimacy, colonialism, feminist critical theory, media and consumer culture, and the politics of reproduction. There is a strong network of gender scholars across the university whose members also contribute to these themes.

Why study Gender at Otago?

Gender Studies at Otago offers a range of papers, and introduces you to papers in other disciplines too: Sociology, Politics, Media, Film & Communication, History, Visual Culture, Geography, Anthropology, English and Education. Gender Studies at Otago is consistently one of the highest rated subjects for student satisfaction with their learning experience.

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Individual Profiles

Otago Profile

Eman Ghandour thumbnail

After finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Eman started working as a Youth Case Worker for the Dunedin Red  Cross, focused on how best to settle former refugee youth into New  Zealand and Dunedin.
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Otago Profile

Megan Anderson thumbnail

Megan Anderson was the first student at the University of Otago to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology.
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Otago Profile


Sociology and the humanities are important subjects because they teach you about ethics.
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