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Bibliographic Data

  • Author: Bernice L. Hausman.
  • Title: Changing Sex.
  • Subtitle: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender
  • Publisher: Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina, United States.
  • Year of publishing: 1995.
  • ISBN: 0822316927.
  • Binding: soft-cover, 245 pages.
  • List price: $ 22,95 (für 21,50 € bei amazon.de).

Cover Text

Changing Sex takes a bold new approach to the study of transexualism in the twentieth century. By addressing the significance of medical technology to the phenomenon of transsexualism, Bernice L. Hausman transforms current conceptions of transsexuality as a disorder of gender identity by showing how developments in medical knowledge and technology make possible the emergence of new subjectivities.

Hausman’s inquiry into the development of endocrinology and plastic surgery shows how advances in medical knowledge were central to the establishment of the material and discursive conditions necessary to produce the demands for sex change—that is, to both »make« and »think« the transsexual. She also retraces the hidden history of the concept of gender, demonstrating that the semantic distinction between »natural« sex and »social« gender has its roots in the development of medical treatment practices for intersexuality—the condition of having physical characteristics of both sexes—in the 1950s. Her research reveals the medical institution’s desire to make heterosexual subjects out of intersexuals and indicates how gender operates semiotically to maintain heterosexuality as the norm of the human body. In critically examining medical discourses, popularizations of medical theories, and transsexual autobiographies, Hausman details the elaboration of »gender narratives« that not only support the emergence of transsexualism, but also regulate the lives of all contemporary Western subjects. Changing Sex will change the ways we think about the relation between sex and gender, the body and sexual identity, and medical technology and the idea of the human.

Book Reviews

»Changing Sex makes a landmark contribution to gender studies and the understanding of transsexualism. It is thorough and accessible in its combination of medical analysis, social criticism, and application of critical theory. It is original and provocative, and will be controversial in the best sense.«
Julia Epstein, Haverford College

About the author

Bernice L. Hausman is Assistant Professor of English at Virgina Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: transsexualism, technology and the idea of gender

  1. Glands, hormones, and personality
  2. Plastic ideologies and plastic transformations
  3. Managing intersexuality and producing gender
  4. Demanding subjectivity
  5. Body, technology, and gender in transsexual autobiographies
  6. Semiotics of sex, gender, and the body

Epilogue

Notes

Index

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