Course Syllabus

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Semester & Location:

Summer 2023, Session 2 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Gender Studies, Public Policy & Sociology



Class Instructor:

Deivida Vandzinskaite 

Time & Place:


Study Tour:


Course Introduction

This course will provide you with an understanding of prostitution as a phenomenon related to gender, sexuality, policy and migration. We will explore the notion of prostitution from a historical, political, legal, sociological and societal perspective. You will gain insight into the status of prostitution in Europe in comparison to the US, while the main focus will be on Denmark. Though selling sex is legal in Denmark, comparing it with other countries will help you to look at various policies towards prostitution and thus provide a useful framework for the understanding of how prostitution, gender norms and social hierarchies are shaped throughout Europe by means of law, policies and public debate.

We will explore questions such as: What are the causes and consequences of prostitution? Is prostitution work or violence? Why is it a state matter to determine how individuals use their bodies? Who are the costumers buying sex? How is global inequality affecting the sex trade? How does prostitution relate to gender norms? What is the value of the various legal frameworks represented in Europe? Should prostitution be legal or illegal? Why? What are the consequences – financially, emotionally, and socially – of prostitution?

The aim of the course is to approach prostitution from various points of view and gain insights into the lives of prostitutes and the professionals working with them. You will meet activists, NGO’s and sex workers in order to broaden our perception and understanding of the complexity of prostitution. The course includes a study tour to Amsterdam, Netherlands. 


The course aims to give students an understanding of prostitution as a complex sociological and legal phenomenon. By exploring different conceptualizations of the sex trade (as a social problem, a gender issue etc.), you should comprehend how discourse, norms and values shape our perception of prostitution and prostitutes. While the course does not seek to promote certain views on sex trade, it does aim at making you understand what your personal opinions are shaped by in order to ensure a critical approach to all perspectives on prostitution. Throughout the course special emphasis will be given to developing an understanding of the sex trade in Denmark and how this  industry is affected by globalization and migration.  


Teaching Methods and Evaluation

The course is taught as a combination of lectures and interactive methods such as group work, debates, films, field studies and guest lecturers whose work is directly linked to prostitution (both pro and con-side) as well as anti-trafficking work. You are expected to actively participate and contribute to your own and your class mates’ learning process and experience.



Please note the class is discussion-based and it is very important we all contribute to creating and maintaining a safe space throughout the semester. Your peers will come from a variety of backgrounds which we seek at using as an added value – be open, curious and respectful during your own and other’s learning process. Remember to challenge ideas, not people.       

Evaluation of your work during the course will be based on the following components, with the relative weight:



Percentage of final grade


Class participation: Attendance, preparation, travel journal and your active participation.

             25 %


Opinion Piece

             30 %

 Friday, June 16


              15 % 

 Friday, June 23

 Individual reflection

             30 %

Saturday, July 1



Class Participation

The evaluation of this component will take into consideration the following aspects:

Attendance: attendance in all classes and field studies is mandatory. See academic handbook for further information. You are urged to be punctual, particularly where guest lecturers and/or films are concerned.

Preparation: preparation for each lecture is a course requirement. See reading list included in this syllabus. Please be aware that there may be slight changes in the reading assignments during the course and various handouts will also be distributed, but you will be provided with ample time to properly prepare.

Participation: active participation in all class sessions is required, and forms an important part of your grade for this component. Participation should preferably reflect your critical capacities and knowledge of the course material (see ”preparation” above).

The aim should be to contribute constructively to forwarding meaningful, relevant dialogue and discussion among the group; in practice, this means that expression of one's personal views should be backed up by references to pertinent readings, materials, etc. and that other viewpoints should be considered in a respectful manner.

The course heavily emphasizes your own engagement and active participation. Much of the learning in this course is dependent on how much effort you put into your own explorations and research, not least in connection with the different assignments.

Podcast Assignment 

You will be divided into groups and create a podcast where you explore a theme related to our study tour and course. More information will be provided in class. 

Campaign assignment

You will be divided into groups and work on creating a campaign on sugardating. More information will be provided in class. 

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

Computers and phones are NOT allowed in class unless specifically agreed with Deivida.


Obligatory readings are listed below. Further obligatory and optional readings (in limited quantity) may be distributed periodically during the course, always in good time to allow you to prepare.

Every effort has been made to distribute the reading load reasonably equally throughout the semester.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due