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FORMAT:             80 minute LECTURES

READING:            One broad review or book chapter per session posted on the website as pdf in advance.

                             Students are expected to send in one question about each reading before each lecture (starting with lecture 2).

DAY:                     Tuesday and Thursday

TIME:                   TBD 

LOCATION:           TBD


Office hours:         CARTA Office, behind Center Hall, next to Center for Students with Disabilities,

                              Friday 1 pm to 3pm, click on map


EXAMS:                1) TBD   Midterm, multiple choice, 1 hour, 

                              2) TBD          Final: two hours, simple sentence replies to questions


EVALUATION:       Grades will be based on student questions, student participation,  Midterm and Final exam performances.





JANUARY 4:       1. What is sex?

Reading:             No reading.                       



JANUARY 6:       2. Culture and sex

                           Third party involvement, arranged marriages, bride price, dowry, menstrual taboos,

                           and other imposed rules.

Reading:            Diamond, Milton. (2004) Sexual Behavior in pre Contact Hawai’i:

                           A sexological Ethnography. Revista Española del Pacifico.




JANUARY 11:     3. Why two sexes? Or are there more?

                            Heterogamy: small and motile or large and sessile, sex determination in mammals

Reading:             Colegrave, Nick (2012). The Evolutionary Success of Sex. EMBO Reports


JANUARY 13:     4. Mating systems across primates

                            How primates go about mating, from induced ovulation in lemurs to silver backs in gorillas,

                            consortship in chimpanzee, and G-G rubbing in bonobos

Reading:            Gagneux, Pascal (2015) Primate Groups and Their Correlates。

                           International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences,

                            2nd edition, Vol 18. Oxford: Elsevier


JANUARY 18:    5. Sexual Dimorphism, Sex Ratio

                           Development, anatomy, endocrinology, physiology, immune system and central nervous system

Reading:            Mukherjee Siddartha. (2016) Why Sex is Mostly Binary but Gender Is a Spectrum. Nautilus.



JANUARY 20:    6. Sexual Selection, Finding a mate

                           Easier said than done 

Reading:            Steinsalz, David et al. (2015) This Gender Mystery Starts Nine Months Before Birth.

                           the ratio of boys to girls at conception has been misunderstood for centuries. Nautilus



JANUARY 25:   7. Social pairing versus reproductive pairing

                           Genetic quality versus resource provisioning

 Reading:            Wilson Michael et al. (2017)

                           Humans as a model species for sexual selection research. Proc R. Soc B.



JANUARY 27:    8. The cost of sex: loss of winning combinations, threat of        

                   violence/exploitation, threat of infection

                           Sex is costly in many ways

Reading:             Lehtonen, Jussi et al. (2011). The Many costs of Sex. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.



FEBRUARY 1:    9. Sex and conflict: Pairs within larger groups, how is this possible?

                         Sexual jealousy as major reason for murder across societies?                  

 READING:          Crespi, Bernard.  and Semeniuk, Chritina. (2004) Parent-offspring conflict in the evolution of

                            vertebrate reproductive mode. The  American Naturalist.



FEBRUARY 3:     10. Sex versus reproduction

                            Uncoupling of sexual behavior and reproduction, recruiting sex for other purposes.

Reading:              Morin, Scott et al. (2014) The Separation of Sexual Activity and Reproduction in Human

                            Social Evolution. L. Zhang and C.A.   Ducsay (eds.), Advances in Fetal and Neonatal Physiology,

                            159 Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 814, Springer,  



FEBRUARY 8:     Sex in art, religion and other business

                            From earliest symbolic and figurative art to Kajuraho, Rembrandt, Japanese Ukiyo-e,

                            pop art and the virtual world

 Reading:             Miller, Geoffrey. F. (2001) Aesthetic fitness: How sexual selection shaped artistic virtuosity as a

                            fitness indicator and aesthetic preferences as mate choice criteria.

                            Bulletin of Psychology and the Arts



FEBRUARY 10:   MIDTERM (one hour)



FEBRUARY 15:   12. Genital mutilation – too close for comfort

                            The need for modifying, identity, covenant, control

 Reading:             Lane, Sandra, D. and Rubinstein, Robert. A. (1996) Judging the Other,

                            Responding to Traditional Female Genital Surgeries. Hastings Center Report.



FEBRUARY 17:  13. Sexual violence, Sex and Power

                            The troubling association between sex, violence and power

 Reading:            Smutts, Barbara (1992) Male Aggression against Women. Human Nature



FEBRUARY 22:   14. Sex trade, Contraception and Paternity Testing

                            Big business, big social fall-outs

 Reading:             Zimmerman, Cathy and Kiss, Ligia (2017) Human trafficking and exploitation:

                             A global health concern. PLoS Med



FEBRUARY 24:  15. Reproductive disease

                            Evolution acts mostly on differential reproduction. What are reproductive diseases?

 Reading:             Inhorn, Maria.C. and Patrizio, Pasquale. (2015) Infertility around the globe:

                            new thinking on gender, reproductive technologies and global movements in the 21st century.

                            Human Reproduction Update.



MARCH 1:          16. Biology and identity, sex and gender

                           Bodies and minds, hormones and surgeries, social norms and change

 Reading:            Fausto-Sterling, Anne (2005) The Bare Bones of Sex: Part 1—Sex and Gender.

                           Journal of Women in Culture and Society



MARCH 3:          17. IVF/ART assisted reproductive technologies

                            Is infertility a disease? Will there be evolutionary consequences from over-application of ART?

 Reading:            Kamphuis, Esme et al. (2014). Are we overusing IVF? British Medical Journal.


MARCH 8:        18. The paradox of human post-reproductive Lifespan

                            Grandmothers, grandfathers and the transmission of culture

 Reading:            Coxworth, James  et al. (2015) Grandmothering life histories and human pair bonding.

                            Proc. Nat. Aacad. Sci USA.


MARCH 10:        19. Recap and Sum Up



MARCH 15:         FINAL EXAM

Statement on Academic Integrity: 

“Academic Integrity is expected of everyone at UC San Diego. This means that you must be honest, fair, responsible, respectful, and trustworthy in all of your actions. Lying, cheating or any other forms of dishonesty will not be tolerated because they undermine learning and the University’s ability to certify students’ knowledge and abilities. Thus, any attempt to get, or help another get, a grade by cheating, lying or dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Integrity Office and will result sanctions. Sanctions can include an F in this class and suspension or dismissal from the University. So, think carefully before you act. Before you act ask yourself the following questions: a) is my action honest, fair, respectful, responsible & trustworthy and, b) is my action authorized by the instructor? If you are unsure, don’t ask a friend—ask your instructor, instructional assistant, or the Academic Integrity Office. You can learn more about academic integrity at” (Source: Tricia Bertram Gallant, Ph.D., UCSD Academic Integrity Office, 2017)

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