Course Syllabus


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Semester & Location:

Fall 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:


Major Disciplines:

Gender Studies, Human Rights, Legal Studies

Faculty Members:

Finn Ferjá

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Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays, 08:30-09:50
Location: Fi6 - Metro 104

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.


Learning Objectives

  • To get an understanding of prostitution and sex work as complex sociological and legal phenomenons and how they are related to more "mainstream" relations (like love relations or more casual relations), norms and values.
  • To understand how discourse, norms and values shape our perception of prostitution and sex workers by exploring different conceptualizations of sex work (a social problem, a gender issue, a solution, etc.).
  • The course does not seek to promote certain views on sex work or sex workers, but the ambition is to make you understand what your personal opinions are shaped by.
  • To learn more specifically about prostitution in Denmark and the Netherlands and how the industry is affected by globalization and migration.




Finn Ferjá, DIS Copenhagen Semester Faculty (MSc in Business, Language and Culture - Diversity and Change Management, Copenhagen Business School, 2018). Teaches Gender & Sexuality in Scandinavia at DIS, since 2021 and Masculinities in Scandinavia since 2022. Finn also works as a Diversity Consultant at Queens Consulting with companies such as Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen Business School, and various Danish University Colleges. He is part of various networks, both as a Committee Member and Board Member, focusing on Diversity & Inclusion and LGBT+ rights.


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