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Third sex, third gender : beyond sexual dimorphism in culture and history

Author: Gilbert H Herdt
Publisher: New York : Zone Books ; Cambridge, Mass. : Distributed by MIT Press, 1996.
Edition/Format:   book_printbook : English : 1st pbk. edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Most modern discussions of the relationship of biological sex to gender presuppose that there are two genders male and female, founded on the two biological sexes. But not all cultures share this essentialist assumption and even Western societies have not always embraced it. Bringing together historical and anthropological studies, Third Sex, Third Gender challenges the usual emphasis on sexual dimorphism and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gilbert H Herdt
ISBN: 0942299825 9780942299823
OCLC Number: 35293440
Description: 614 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: Living in the shadows : eunuchs and gender in Byzantium / Kathryn M. Ringrose --
London's Sapphists : from three sexes to four genders in the making of modern culture / Randolph Trumbach --
Sodomy and the pursuit of the third sex in the early modern period / Theo van der Meer --
"A female soul in a male body" : sexual inversion as gender inversion in nineteenth-century sexology / Gert Hekma --
Woman becomes man in the Balkans / René Grémaux --
Polynesian gender liminality through time and space / Niko Besnier --
How to become a berdache : toward a unified analysis of gender diversity / Will Roscoe --
Hijras : an alternative sex and gender role in India / Serena Nanda --
Mistaken sex : culture, biology and the third sex in New Guinea / Gilbert Herdt --
Transcending and transgendering : male-to-female transsexuals, dichotomy and diversity / Anne Bolin.
Responsibility: edited by Gilbert Herdt.

Abstract:

"Most modern discussions of the relationship of biological sex to gender presuppose that there are two genders male and female, founded on the two biological sexes. But not all cultures share this essentialist assumption and even Western societies have not always embraced it. Bringing together historical and anthropological studies, Third Sex, Third Gender challenges the usual emphasis on sexual dimorphism and reproduction, providing a unique perspective on the various forms of socialization of people who are neither "male" nor "female." The existence of a third sex or gender enables us to understand how Byzantine palace eunuchs and Indian hijras met the criteria of special social roles that necessitated practices such as self-castration and how intimate and forbidden desires were expressed among the Dutch Sodomites in the early modern period, the Sapphists of eighteenth-century England or the so-called hermaphrodite-homosexuals of nineteenth-century Europe and America. By contextualizing these practices and by allowing these bodies, meanings and desires to emerge, Third Sex, Third Gender provides a new way to think about sex and gender systems that is crucial to contemporary debates within the social sciences."--Jacket.

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