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MOOC on Religion and Sexual Wellbeing: Free online course on FutureLearn

21 April 2022
Delft Blue Couples by Gabriela Bustamante
Delft Blue Couples by Gabriela Bustamante

The project team of 'Sexuality, Religion and Secularism' has been working hard to develop a freely accessible 4-week internet course: ‘Religion and Sexual Wellbeing: Pleasure, Piety and Reproductive Rights’, starting on 2 May. We celebrated the start of this course on 21 April during our informal MOOC-launch. Anyone can already sign up now for this free online course!

Free online course

Debates featuring sexuality, gender, and reproduction often showcase two clear voices: conservative voices often associated with religion, and liberal voices often associated with secular ideologies, such as feminism. These topics are intensely private matters, yet they are publicly debated and decided upon. How can we look beyond this polarization, when the issues relating to gender and sexuality are infused with strong opinions and arguments from both sides?

Learning about the dynamics of sexuality, religion and culture in everyday lives of individuals is one way towards an informed stance on these globally contested and regulated topics. To this end, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen is offering a free online course titled ‘ Religion, Gender and Sexual Wellbeing: Pleasure, Piety, and Reproductive Rights ’.

Learn about culture, religion and sexual wellbeing

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) helps you to critically reflect on the influence of culture and religion in people’s everyday choices relating to sexual wellbeing. This course shows that religion is not a polar opposite of sexual wellbeing or sexual rights, even though religions might often be pitted against sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) discourses. You will learn how people navigate their decisions in the midst of local traditions, religion, and voices from their immediate environment. You will investigate the dynamics of religion and sexual wellbeing in three different cultural settings: the Philippines, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands. Each week of this course focuses on a certain theme, which will be examined through a specific locale.

Your educators

The course has been developed by scholars from the University of Groningen, University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University, whose recent researches have focused on gender, sexual wellbeing and religion. In addition, experts from around the world have contributed their knowledge and experience as scholars and activists.


Dr. Kim Knibbe - educator, associate professor at the Comparative Study of Religion department, University of Groningen.
Dr. Brenda Bartelink - educator, assistant professor at the Comparative Study of Religion department and senior researcher at the History and Philosophy of Education department, University of Groningen.
Dr. Jelle Wiering - postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen.
Dr. Rachel Spronk - educator, associate professor, department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam.
Dr. Amisah Zenabu Bakuri - lecturer at the University College Utrecht, Utrecht University and postdoctoral fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
Drs. Tom Spits - online learning environment specialist, University of Groningen.

About the course

The course will take four weeks. In the first week you will learn how to find items of polarization and learn to look beyond the binary voices that are dominant in debates regarding SRHR. In the second week of the course, you will digitally travel to the Philippines to explore in-depth the role of religion in the choices that individuals make regarding sex and reproduction. The third week will bring you to Zimbabwe, where you will dive deep into concepts of ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’ and learn how religious actors challenge these concepts as mediators in tackling the issue of gender-based violence. In the final week of this course, we will answer the question of how people become sexually knowledgeable in the Netherlands, a culturally and religiously diverse setting that is characterized by secularism.

This course will start on 2 May 2022 and is open to everyone, free of charge. Anyone can already
sign up now . The course is taught entirely in English and is located on the online platform FutureLearn .

When/start: Monday 2 May 2022

Where: FutureLearn . Sign up now ! (participation is free of charge)

Our team, from left to right: Tom Spits, dr. Kim Knibbe, dr. Jelle Wiering, dr. Rachel Spronk, dr. Amisah Zenabu Bakuri, dr. Brenda Bartelink
Our team, from left to right: Tom Spits, dr. Kim Knibbe, dr. Jelle Wiering, dr. Rachel Spronk, dr. Amisah Zenabu Bakuri, dr. Brenda Bartelink
Last modified:20 May 2022 3.39 p.m.
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