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Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud

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Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This is a book about the making and unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in the West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of developments in reproductive anatomy and physiology. We cannot fail to recognize the players in Thomas Laqueur's story--the human sexual organs and pleasures, food, blood, semen, egg, sperm--but we will be amazed at the plots into which they have been woven by scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of every stripe.

Laqueur begins with the question of why, in the late eighteenth century, woman's orgasm came to be regarded as irrelevant to conception, and he then proceeds to retrace the dramatic changes in Western views of sexual characteristics over two millennia. Along the way, two "masterplots" emerge. In the one-sex story, woman is an imperfect version of man, and her anatomy and physiology are construed accordingly: the vagina is seen as an interior penis, the womb as a scrotum, the ovaries as testicles. The body is thus a representation, not the foundation, of social gender. The second plot tends to dominate post-Enlightenment thinking while the one-sex model is firmly rooted in classical learning. The two-sex story says that the body determines gender differences, that woman is the opposite of man with incommensurably different organs, functions, and feelings. The two plots overlap; neither ever holds a monopoly. Science may establish many new facts, but even so, Laqueur argues, science was only providing a new way of speaking, a rhetoric and not a key to female liberation or to social progress. Making Sex ends with Freud, who denied the neurological evidence to insist that, as a girl becomes a woman, the locus of her sexual pleasure shifts from the clitoris to the vagina; she becomes what culture demands despite, not because of, the body. Turning Freud's famous dictum around, Laqueur posits that destiny is anatomy. Sex, in other words, is an artifice.

This is a powerful story, written with verve and a keen sense of telling detail (be it technically rigorous or scabrously fanciful). Making Sex will stimulate thought, whether argument or surprised agreement, in a wide range of readers.

Synopsis:

Turning Freud's famous dictum around, Thomas Laqueur posits that destiny is anatomy. Sex, in other words, is an artifice and "Making Sex" tells the story of sex in the west from the ancients to the moderns. It looks at how our predecessors thought about anatomy and analyzes our ideas on gender.

Synopsis:

Thomas Laqueur is Recipient of the 2007 Andrew W. Mellion Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award

Synopsis:

This is a book about the making an unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of the history of reproductive anatomy and physiology.

Table of Contents

1. Of Language and the Flesh

2. Destiny Is Anatomy

3. New Science, One Flesh

4. Representing Sex

5. Discovery of the Sexes

6. Sex Socialized

Notes

Credits

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674543553
Author:
Laqueur, Thomas
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychology
Subject:
Human Sexuality
Subject:
Gender Studies
Subject:
Sex education
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Gender Studies-General
Subject:
Science -- History.
Subject:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
February 1992
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
66 halftones
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 17 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Anatomy and Physiology
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Sex
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Child Psychology
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Sexuality » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Transgender

Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud Used Trade Paper
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$8.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674543553 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Turning Freud's famous dictum around, Thomas Laqueur posits that destiny is anatomy. Sex, in other words, is an artifice and "Making Sex" tells the story of sex in the west from the ancients to the moderns. It looks at how our predecessors thought about anatomy and analyzes our ideas on gender.
"Synopsis" by , Thomas Laqueur is Recipient of the 2007 Andrew W. Mellion Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award
"Synopsis" by , This is a book about the making an unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of the history of reproductive anatomy and physiology.
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