Changing Sex and Bending Gender

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Anthropologists and historians have shown us that 'male' and 'female' are variously defined historically and cross-culturally. The contributions to this volume focus on the voluntary and involuntary, temporary or permanent transformation of gender identity. Overall, this volume provides powerful and compelling illustrations of how, across a wide range of cultures, processes of gender transformation are shaped within, and ultimately constrained by, social and political context. From medical responses to biological ambiguity, legal responses to cases brought by transsexuals, the historical role of the eunuch in Byzantium, the social transformation of gender in Northern Albania and in the Southern Philippines, to North American 'drag' shows, English pantomime and Japanese kabuki theatre, this volume offers revealing insights into the ambiguities and limitations of gender transformation.

Alison Shaw is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, Department of Public Health. Her research interests include medical anthropology, ethnicity, kinship and social aspects of genetics. Her publications include Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani families in Britain (Harwood/Routledge 2000); A Pakistani Community in Britain (Oxford: Blackwell 1888) and Get by in Hindi and Urdu (1989 BBC Books).

Shirley Ardener is a Senior Associate of Queen Elizabeth House, the University of Oxford's International Development Centre. She was the Founding Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, now known as the International Gender Studies Centre, whose programme was recognised by her OBE, and of which she is an active honorary member. She has edited and contributed to many books on gender and is the editor of Berghahn's series Cameroon Studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845450533
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Series: Social Identities Series
  • Pages: 158
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Changing sex and bending gender : an introduction 1
2 Is it a boy, or a girl? : the challenges of genital ambiguity 20
3 Why should biological sex be decisive? : transsexualism before the European Court of Human Rights 39
4 Two views on the gender identity of Byzantine eunuchs 60
5 The third sex in Albania : an ethnographic note 74
6 Living like men, loving like women : tomboi in the Southern Philippines 85
7 One of the gals who's one of the guys : men, masculinity and drag performance in North America 103
8 Male dames and female boys : cross-dressing in the English pantomime 119
9 Cross-dressing on the Japanese stage 138
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