Gender and diversity

A multidisciplinary approach to the study of identity formation

Gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation

In this multidisciplinary minor you will learn how to critically perceive contemporary discussions in science and society from the perspective of gender and diversity. You will gain knowledge of the relevant theories on gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation in the disciplinary fields of history, philosophy, literature, medicine, sociology and anthropology, and theology. You develop a diverse perspective in discussions with students from other disciplines in the classroom. In assignments you apply the knowledge achieved to your own disciplinary field.

The philosophical course “Critical perspectives on science”:

introduces the theoretical perspectives in feminist, race, and intersectionality theory, and forms the backbone of the minor. It gives insight into the sex/gender debate, the problem of the relationship between gender and race theory, the intersectional framework.

The second course, “The personal is political: biography, gender and diversity,”:

addresses how gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, race, age, religion and class influence the lives of politically engaged personalities, by studying the genres of the political biography, autobiography and life writing.

You choose two courses out of the following three:

In the field of social sciences, “Identity, Diversity, and Inclusion,”:

discusses questions around national and European identity, in which gender, (homo)sexuality and class have become prominent as markers of national inclusion and exclusion. Islamophobic rightwing and Islamic radicalization are studied as possible reactions to experienced threats to identity.

In “From Cell to Society”:

questions around sex/gender and diversity are addressed from the perspective of health and medicine. Even though health disparities and inequalities exist between men and women across (socio)cultural backgrounds, class, sexual orientation, abilities and age, to date, a sex/gender and diversity perspective is insufficiently incorporated in medical education, medical practice, and in research. For this course, students must fulfill the admission criteria of a VUmc School of Medical Sciences minor program.

Students interested in cultural representations of sex/gender and diversity, can choose “American Film: 

Cinematic Representations of the ‘Other’” which discusses key representations of the “Other” – in terms of race, sexuality, and gender – in American films such as Jezebel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Vertigo, and Alien.

The final course in the minor “Religions and Gender”:

addresses the relationship of religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shinto, Greek and Babylonian religions) to gender: male and female models in religious narratives, historical shifts in the religious status of women, religious views of homosexuality, masculinity in religious politics.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

Admission and registration

The minor is a VU-“university minor,” which means that all Bachelor 3 VU-students are welcome to attend this minor. You do not need permission from the examination board of your faculty (except VUmc-students). Also Bachelor students of other universities are welcome to attend this minor. Please note that in this case you should obtain permission from your home university. 

Foreign students: see the website Semester in Amsterdam.

International students: please contact the International Office at VU University, Amsterdam.


Please see the application procedure for more information.

Questions about the programme


If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact 

Annemie Halsema | 

+31 20 5986684

Samenvatting Gender and diversity




1 semester (30 EC)


1 September


Gedrag en Maatschappij
Gezondheid en Beweging
Kunst, Cultuur en Geschiedenis