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Sarah S. Richardson, Sex Itself. The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome

Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2013, vii + 311pp., illus., $48.00 ($27.00 paperback).
  • Howard ChiangEmail author
Book Review
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Erudite yet accessible, meticulously researched, and elegantly written, Sarah S. Richardson’s Sex Itself examines the history of modern genetic research on human sex difference. The book is ambitiously pitched and yet magisterially successful in delivering what it promises, interweaving two distinct agendas. First, its scholarlyagenda benefits from a longstanding tradition in feminist critiques of science that untangles the reciprocal relationship between gender ideology and technical knowledge production from a historically informed viewpoint. In the context of sex chromosomal research, the focus of this book, Richardson seeks to narrate “not a chronology of the accumulation of more complete and accurate facts,” but “a history of contestations” over the propriety of science in addressing politically charged notions of maleness and femaleness (p. 15). This scholarly agenda, in other words, extends a sophisticated body of literature in the history, philosophy, and sociology of...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Waterloo200 University Avenue WestWaterlooCanada

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