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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).

                             Questions need to be submitted by noon the day of each lecture. Later questions will only count as half a point.

​DAY:                     Tuesday and Thursday

TIME:                   3:30 pm tyo 4:50 pm

LOCATION:          Center Hall 214                       

Office hours:        CARTA Office, 

                             Friday 1 pm to 3pm,

                                                click on pdf for map

EXAMS:                1) FEBRUARY 15   Midterm, 100 questions multiple choice, 1 hour, 

                              2) MARCH   19       Final: Cumulative, 100 questions simple sentence replies two hours, 55 min.

EVALUATION:       Grades will be based on student reading questions (25%),  Midterm (25%) and Final (50%) exam performances.







JANUARY 9:       1. What is Sex?

Reading:             No reading.                       



JANUARY 11:     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 16:     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 18:    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 23:    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 25:    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 30:  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.



FEBRUARY 1:   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 6:  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, Chritsina. (2004) Parent-offspring conflict in the evolution of vertebrate reproductive mode. The                             American Naturalist.


FEBRUARY 8:   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 13:   11.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 15:   MIDTERM (in person, 100 questions, multiple choice, one hour)



FEBRUARY 20:   12. Genital Mutilation 

                            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 22:  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 27:   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 29:  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 5:          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 7:          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 12:        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 14:        19. Recap and Sum Up



MARCH 19:         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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