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Evolution's Rainbow

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Evolution's Rainbow Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Evolution's Rainbow is an expansively creative challenge to the modern orthodoxies of sexual selection. Roughgarden's intellectual generosity may jump-start the careers of a new generation of diversity-affirming Darwinian scientists."—Patricia Adair Gowaty, author of Feminism and Evolutionary Biology

"An entrancing tale of sexual ambiguity in animals and people, but also that rarest of literary beasts—a science book written from the heart."—Steve Jones, author of Darwin's Ghost

"A thoughtful and scholarly, yet deeply personal, perspective from a brilliant theoretical biologist. This articulate and provocative disquisition is must reading for anyone fascinated by one of the most important contemporary social challenges."—Simon Levin, author of Fragile Dominion

"This book challenges not only the assumptions about male-female differences in behavior and homosexual-heterosexual differences, but also the very meanings of ‘maleness and ‘femaleness in physical and biological terms. Roughgarden builds a strong case for biological diversity related to what humans call sex, gender, and sexuality."—Bonnie Spanier, author of Im/partial Science: Gender Ideology in Molecular Biology

"Joan Roughgarden asks, and indeed tries to answer, all the big questions about sexual diversity among humans and animals. She takes her readers on a wonderful journey through ecology and evolution and is a brilliant and talented narrator. Evolution's Rainbow will fundamentally change many ongoing conversations on sexuality and science."—Judith Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity

"Every now and then science focuses on a subject that matters. Gender and gender differences matter to us social primates. And we will judge, condemn, restrict or incarcerate people based on our notions of biologically normal variability in gender and sexuality. Thus, it is immensely important when a book comes along, written clearly and authoritatively by an eminent scientist, that demonstrates how wrong most peoples ideas are about this subject. This is such a book."—Robert Sapolsky, author of A Primates Memoir

Review:

"This brilliant and accessible work of biological criticism has the potential to revolutionize the way readers conceive of gender and sexuality in the natural world. Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, argues that the diversity of gender and sexuality one finds in many species suggests that evolutionary biologists of a strictly Darwinian bent are often misguided, since, according to Roughgarden, they erroneously assume a universally applicable gender binary in all species. The first half of the book brings that sexual diversity to light through innumerable examples among birds, reptiles, fish and mammals provided in highly readable anecdotes. The significance of this first section lies not only in this startlingly original portrait of nature, but also in how it suggests that contemporary Darwinian sexual selection theory is in part a result of cultural bias, since it 'predicts that the baseline outcome of social evolution is horny, handsome, healthy warriors paired with discreetly discerning damsels.' Roughgarden critiques this theory through an expansive study of biological scholarship, highlighting the frequent contradictions between such claims and the data used (and, she argues, manipulated) to prove them. The second and undoubtedly more controversial section discusses sexual diversity in humans. Taking as a given the presence in our own species of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual and intersex persons, she reads current scientific writing — on a supposed 'gay gene,' on gender reassignment and other issues — through a perspective that sees diversity as an advantage, not a handicap. Readers more accustomed to traditional categories of gender and sexuality in humans will undoubtedly be surprised at how different a portrait emerges from Roughgarden's deeply personal and insistently ethical point of view. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, the author challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. She argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are wrong, positing a new theory.

Synopsis:

In celebration of the enormous diversity of genders and sexuality found in animals and humans, Roughgarden exposes how biology, medicine, anthropology and Christianity have obstructed the recognition and acceptance of this diversity.

Synopsis:

In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, Joan Roughgarden challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Roughgarden takes on the medical establishment, the Bible, social science—and even Darwin himself. She leads the reader through a fascinating discussion of diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. Evolution's Rainbow explains how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior. Roughgarden reconstructs primary science in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism and redefines our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. Witty, playful, and daring, this book will revolutionize our understanding of sexuality.

Roughgarden argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are false and suggests a new theory that emphasizes social inclusion and control of access to resources and mating opportunity. She disputes a range of scientific and medical concepts, including Wilson's genetic determinism of behavior, evolutionary psychology, the existence of a gay gene, the role of parenting in determining gender identity, and Dawkins's "selfish gene" as the driver of natural selection. She dares social science to respect the agency and rationality of diverse people; shows that many cultures across the world and throughout history accommodate people we label today as lesbian, gay, and transgendered; and calls on the Christian religion to acknowledge the Bible's many passages endorsing diversity in gender and sexuality. Evolution's Rainbow concludes with bold recommendations for improving education in biology, psychology, and medicine; for democratizing genetic engineering and medical practice; and for building a public monument to affirm diversity as one of our nation's defining principles.

About the Author

Joan Roughgarden is Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. She is the author of Primer of Ecological Theory (1998), Anolis Lizards of the Caribbean: Ecology, Evolution, and Plate Tectonics (1995), and Theory of Population Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology: An Introduction (1979).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Diversity Denied

PART ONE: ANIMAL RAINBOWS

1 Sex and Diversity

2 Sex versus Gender

3 Sex within Bodies

4 Sex Roles

5 Two-Gender Families

6 Multiple-Gender Families

7 Female Choice

8 Same-Sex Sexuality

9 The Theory of Evolution

PART TWO: HUMAN RAINBOWS

10 An Embryonic Narrative

11 Sex Determination

12 Sex Differences

13 Gender Identity

14 Sexual Orientation

15 Psychological Perspectives

16 Disease versus Diversity

17 Genetic Engineering versus Diversity

PART THREE: CULTURAL RAINBOWS

18 Two-Spirits, Mahu, and Hijras

19 Transgender in Historical Europe and the Middle East

20 Sexual Relations in Antiquity

21 Tomboi, Vestidas, and Guevedoche

22 Trans Politics in the United States

Appendix: Policy Recommendations

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520240735
Subtitle:
Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People
Manufactured:
University of California Press
Author:
Roughgarden, Joan
Publisher:
University of California Press
Location:
Berkeley
Subject:
General
Subject:
Gender Studies
Subject:
Gender identity
Subject:
Biological diversity
Subject:
Sexual orientation
Subject:
Sexual behavior in animals
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Evolution
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
no. 03-03
Publication Date:
20051206
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
474
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in 1.07 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Ethology and Animal Behavior

Evolution's Rainbow Used Hardcover
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$13.95 In Stock
Product details 474 pages University of California Press - English 9780520240735 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This brilliant and accessible work of biological criticism has the potential to revolutionize the way readers conceive of gender and sexuality in the natural world. Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, argues that the diversity of gender and sexuality one finds in many species suggests that evolutionary biologists of a strictly Darwinian bent are often misguided, since, according to Roughgarden, they erroneously assume a universally applicable gender binary in all species. The first half of the book brings that sexual diversity to light through innumerable examples among birds, reptiles, fish and mammals provided in highly readable anecdotes. The significance of this first section lies not only in this startlingly original portrait of nature, but also in how it suggests that contemporary Darwinian sexual selection theory is in part a result of cultural bias, since it 'predicts that the baseline outcome of social evolution is horny, handsome, healthy warriors paired with discreetly discerning damsels.' Roughgarden critiques this theory through an expansive study of biological scholarship, highlighting the frequent contradictions between such claims and the data used (and, she argues, manipulated) to prove them. The second and undoubtedly more controversial section discusses sexual diversity in humans. Taking as a given the presence in our own species of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual and intersex persons, she reads current scientific writing — on a supposed 'gay gene,' on gender reassignment and other issues — through a perspective that sees diversity as an advantage, not a handicap. Readers more accustomed to traditional categories of gender and sexuality in humans will undoubtedly be surprised at how different a portrait emerges from Roughgarden's deeply personal and insistently ethical point of view. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, the author challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. She argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are wrong, positing a new theory.
"Synopsis" by , In celebration of the enormous diversity of genders and sexuality found in animals and humans, Roughgarden exposes how biology, medicine, anthropology and Christianity have obstructed the recognition and acceptance of this diversity.
"Synopsis" by ,
In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, Joan Roughgarden challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Roughgarden takes on the medical establishment, the Bible, social science—and even Darwin himself. She leads the reader through a fascinating discussion of diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. Evolution's Rainbow explains how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior. Roughgarden reconstructs primary science in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism and redefines our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. Witty, playful, and daring, this book will revolutionize our understanding of sexuality.

Roughgarden argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are false and suggests a new theory that emphasizes social inclusion and control of access to resources and mating opportunity. She disputes a range of scientific and medical concepts, including Wilson's genetic determinism of behavior, evolutionary psychology, the existence of a gay gene, the role of parenting in determining gender identity, and Dawkins's "selfish gene" as the driver of natural selection. She dares social science to respect the agency and rationality of diverse people; shows that many cultures across the world and throughout history accommodate people we label today as lesbian, gay, and transgendered; and calls on the Christian religion to acknowledge the Bible's many passages endorsing diversity in gender and sexuality. Evolution's Rainbow concludes with bold recommendations for improving education in biology, psychology, and medicine; for democratizing genetic engineering and medical practice; and for building a public monument to affirm diversity as one of our nation's defining principles.

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