Module Outline for Course Participants The Social Construction of Sexual Identities

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In preparation for the course, participants are asked to carefully study the pictures of the carnival revelers from the Caribbean depicted below. Be prepared to discuss these pictures and their context.

Sources: Trinidad Carnival 2011. Shutter Effex.

& Passa Passa in Jamaica
Overview of module:

This module will encourage discussion on the basis of the Social Construction of Caribbean Sexual Identities. Participants will be encouraged to utilize both lecture and small group participation, utilizing reflective learning to understand the peculiar context of the Caribbean. In particular the participants will appreciate the point that the region’s colonial history influenced many aspects of its socialization including its sexual socialization. As a result of this history, indigenous forms of sexual identities emerged.
Session 1. Sexual identities and social constructionism
This session asks participants to identify the social basis to sexual identities in their own

social contexts. It includes a lecture providing an introduction to anthropological,

historical, and contemporary sociological approaches to sexual identity as a regulatory

feature of modern social life and the implications of this for sexual experience and subjectivity.

Session 2. The development of Caribbean Sexual identities
This session discusses the growth of a Caribbean sexual identity and questions the nature of the gendered dichotomy. It includes a lecture that interrogates the historical and social contexts in which a Caribbean identity(ies) developed following colonialism and to the present day. Students will be challenged to examine the extent to which the Caribbean “norm” followed on from contemporary mainstream sociological approaches.

Session 3. The Carnivalesque and the social construction of Caribbean sexualities

In groups, participants will evaluate how sexuality in the Caribbean is socially constructed. This evaluation will be done in the context of the region’s Carnival and other performative moments, which are some of the popular reference points for the expression of national or regional sexual identities.

Session 4. Caribbean Sexual Construction: “coming of age”

In this session participants will analyse the manner in which Caribbean sexualities can be understood as a social continuity of Victorian and Judeo-Christian norms and the extent to which contemporary global sexualities have impacted “Carnival culture”.


At the end of this module students will realize that while the historical development of the Caribbean influenced its sexual development from the fifteenth through to the twentieth centuries, Caribbean ideas of sexuality also affected and, in many cases, dominated the imposed western Judeo Christian norms. The effects of multi ethnic societies (created as a result of the colonial legacy of 17th Century enslavement and 18th Century indentureship) not only affected accepted notions of constructionists sexual development but affected also the plural make up of the society and the divergent norms adopted. Ultimately the “Carnivalisque” will be viewed as the ultimate indigenous (sexual) creation, which ironically, in its expression challenges even the heterosexual ‘norm’.

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