Course Syllabus

"Belle", Prostitution Information Center, Amsterdam

Semester & Location:

Spring 2024 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:


Major Disciplines:

Gender Studies, Human Rights, Legal Studies

Faculty Members:

Deivida Vandzinskaite 

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Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays, 10:05-11:25
Location: N7-B12

Course Introduction

This course will provide you with an understanding of prostitution as a phenomenon related to gender, sexuality, economy and migration. We will explore the notion of prostitution from a historical, political, legal, feminist and sociological perspective. You will gain insight into the status of prostitution in Europe in comparison to the US, with a focus on Denmark and Holland. Though prostitution is legal in these countries, they each represent different policies towards prostitution and thus provide a useful framework for the understanding of how prostitution, gender norms and social hierarchies are shaped 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 regulate what individuals chose to do with 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?  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 sex workers and professionals working to support them one way or another. You will meet activists, NGO’s and sex workers in order to broaden our perception and understand the complexity of the sex industry. The course includes a study tour to Amsterdam, The Netherlands as well as Aarhus, Denmark.


The course aims to give you an understanding of prostitution as a complex sociological and legal phenomenon. By exploring the different conceptualizations of 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 influence your personal opinions, 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 Holland and of how it has been transformed by globalization and migration.


Deivida Vandzinskaite, DIS Copenhagen Semester Faculty
Ph.D. (Education, Siauliai University, Lithuania, 2011), focus on the cross-cultural use of service learning in higher education. M.A. (Social Anthropology and Sociology, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania, 2006). Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar, Siauliai University, 2007-2013. Visiting scholar at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, 2008-2012. Research experience on the national and international level covering topics related to cultural diversity and cross-cultural issues, gender and family studies, global diffusion of educational models, and voluntary participation in Europe. With DIS since 2013.


Disability and Resource Statement

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support ( ) to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.

Academic Honesty:

Plagiarism and Violating the Rules of an Assignment DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and credit all work or thought taken from others.

Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of “F” and can result in dismissal. The students’ home university will be notified. DIS reserves the right to request that written student assignments be turned in electronic form for submission to plagiarism detection software. See the Academic Handbook for more information, or ask your instructor if you have questions.

Teaching Approach

This course will be taught through a combination of lectures, group work, field studies, guest lecturers, and documentaries. Throughout, there will be a strong emphasis on participation and class discussion. Overall, the aim is to create a classroom space characterized by respect and willingness to listen/consider others’ perspectives, where it is safe to explore ideas together and individually.


Please note that the class is discussion-based and it is very important we all contribute to creating and maintaining a safe space throughout the semester. You and your peers come from a variety of backgrounds, adding valuable perspectives to our discussions – be open, curious, and respectful during your own and other’s learning processes. Remember to challenge ideas, not people.      


The course assignments will aim at having students demonstrating acquired knowledge and the ability to critically analyze themes within the prostitution debate and surrounding discourses. During the semester there will be an assignment asking to write an opinion piece and to create a mini campaign based on the class material and the short study tour (Aarhus). During the study tour (Amsterdam) students will be producing a podcast and writing a reflection based on your observations and discussions. 

Academic Regulations  

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

Reading list



Course Summary:

Date Details Due