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Watch Georgiann Davis in National Geographic's Gender Revolution documentary with Katie Couric A personal, compelling perspective on how medical diagnoses can profoundly hurt, or help, the lived experiences of entire communities Winner, 2016 Donald Light Award for the Applied or Public Practice of Medical Sociology, presented by the American Sociological Association When sociologist Georgiann Davis was a teenager, her doctors discovered that she possessed XY chromosomes, marking her as intersex. Rather than share this information with her, they withheld the diagnosis in order to “protect” the development of her gender identity; it was years before Davis would see her own medical records as an adult and learn the truth. Davis’ experience is not unusual. Many intersex people feel isolated from one another and violated by medical practices that support conventional notions of the male/female sex binary which have historically led to secrecy and shame about being intersex. Yet, the rise of intersex activism and visibility in the US has called into question the practice of classifying intersex as an abnormality, rather than as a mere biological variation. This shift in thinking has the potential to transform entrenched intersex medical treatment. In Contesting Intersex, Davis draws on interviews with intersex people, their parents, and medical experts to explore the oft-questioned views on intersex in medical and activist communities, as well as the evolution of thought in regards to intersex visibility and transparency. She finds that framing intersex as an abnormality is harmful and can alter the course of one’s life. In fact, controversy over this framing continues, as intersex has been renamed a ‘disorder of sex development’ throughout medicine. This happened, she suggests, as a means for doctors to reassert their authority over the intersex body in the face of increasing intersex activism in the 1990s and feminist critiques of intersex medical treatment. Davis argues the renaming of ‘intersex’ as a ‘disorder of sex development’ is strong evidence that the intersex diagnosis is dubious. Within the intersex community, though, disorder of sex development terminology is hotly disputed; some prefer not to use a term which pathologizes their bodies, while others prefer to think of intersex in scientific terms. Although terminology is currently a source of tension within the movement, Davis hopes intersex activists and their allies can come together to improve the lives of intersex people, their families, and future generations. However, for this to happen, the intersex diagnosis, as well as sex, gender, and sexuality, needs to be understood as socially constructed phenomena. A personal journey into medical and social activism, Contesting Intersex presents a unique perspective on how medical diagnoses can affect lives profoundly. Instructor's Guide Ask us about setting up a Skype-in with the author for your class
Queer Feminist Science Studies takes a transnational, trans-species, and intersectional approach to this cutting-edge area of inquiry between women�s, gender, and sexuality studies and science and technology studies (STS). The essays here �queer��or denaturalize and make strange�ideas that are taken for granted in both areas of study. Reimagining the meanings of and relations among queer and feminist theories and a wide range of scientific disciplines, contributors foster new critical and creative knowledge-projects that attend to shifting and uneven operations of power, privilege, and dispossession, while also highlighting potentialities for uncertainty, subversion, transformation, and play. Theoretically and rhetorically powerful, these essays also take seriously the materiality of �natural� objects and phenomena: bones, voles, chromosomes, medical records and more all help substantiate answers to questions such as, What is sex? How are race, gender, sexuality, and other systems of differences co-constituted? The foundational essays and new writings collected here offer a generative resource for students and scholars alike, demonstrating the ingenuity and dynamism of queer feminist scholarship.
In 2012, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Oxford reported that - based on their clinical experiment - the beta-blocker drug, Propranolol, could reduce implicit racial bias among its users. Shortly after the experiment, an article in Time Magazine cited the study, posing the question: Is racism becoming a mental illness? In Are Racists Crazy? Sander Gilman and James Thomas trace the idea of race and racism as psychopathological categories., from mid-19th century Europe, to contemporary America, up to the aforementioned clinical experiment at the University of Oxford, and ask a slightly different question than that posed by Time: How did racism become a mental illness? Using historical, archival, and content analysis, the authors provide a rich account of how the 19th century ‘Sciences of Man’ - including anthropology, medicine, and biology - used race as a means of defining psychopathology and how assertions about race and madness became embedded within disciplines that deal with mental health and illness. An illuminating and riveting history of the discourse on racism, antisemitism, and psychopathology, Are Racists Crazy? connects past and present claims about race and racism, showing the dangerous implications of this specious line of thought for today.

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