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Eugenides Jeffrey - Middlesex

In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blond classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, Callie has inherited a rare genetic mutation. The biological trace of a guilty secret, this gene has followed her grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Detroit and has outlasted the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun. Sprawling across eight decades - and one unusually awkward adolescence - Jeffrey Eugenides' long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. It marks the fulfillment of a huge talent, named one of America's best young novelists by both Granta and the New Yorker.

Fausto-Sterling Anne - Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality

Anyone who has been following the new brain science in the popular press--and even those whose casual reading includes journals along the lines of Psychoneuroendocrinology--will be fascinated by the puckish observations of Brown University biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling, whose provocative and erudite essays easily establish the cultural biases underlying current scientific thought on gender. She goes on to critique the science itself, exposing inconsistencies in the literature and weaknesses in the rhetorical and theoretical structures that support new research. 'One of the major claims I make in this book,' she explains, 'is that labeling someone a man or a woman is a social decision. We may use scientific knowledge to help us make the decision, but only our beliefs about gender--not science--can define our sex. Furthermore, our beliefs about gender affect what kinds of knowledge scientists produce about sex in the first place.' Whether discussing genital surgery on intersex infants or the amorous lives of lab rats, the author is unfailingly clear and convincing, and manages to impart humor to subjects as seemingly unpromising as neuroanatomy and the structure of proteins.

Halberstam Judith – Female Masculinity

Masculinity without men. In Female Masculinity Judith Halberstam takes aim at the protected status of male masculinity and shows that female masculinity has offered a distinct alternative to it for well over two hundred years. Providing the first full-length study on this subject, Halberstam catalogues the diversity of gender expressions among masculine women from nineteenth-century pre-lesbian practices to contemporary drag king performances.

Kessler Suzanne J., and Wendy McKenna - Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach.

Following in Garfinkel’s ethnomethodological footsteps, Kessler and McKenna examine gender attribution, cross-cultural perspectives on gender, biological and developmental aspects of gender, and transsexuality considered as a mundane construction of gender. The material on transsexuality is outdated, but their work on gender attribution is especially valuable.

West, Candance / Zimmermann, Don H. (1987): "Doing Gender", in: Gender and Society 1 (2), 125-151.

"Doing Gender" is an article whose main contribution is its reconceptualization of gender as not so much a set of traits residing with individuals, but as something people do in their social interactions. As such, gender is fundamentally about social interaction and relationship -it is embedded in every aspects of everyday interactions that one's actions in doing gender simultaneously produces, reproduces, sustains and legitimates the social meanings accorded to gender.
Here, the key concept is that of accountability-that, insofar as society is structured according to sex categorization of male/female dichotomy, people come to be required to be accountable for every action they perform to be appropriate to one's sex category. In this sense, the authors argue that gender is extremely fundamental in all aspects of social relationships in the sense that one cannot avoid doing gender if one wants to make actions accountable.

Bornstein, Kate. 1994. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. New York: Vintage.

An enormously rich text which is easy for undergraduate students to read. Some of the best undergraduate papers I have ever read have been written in response to thought experiment questions I drew, and reformulated to add structural connections to other course material, from this book.

Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Passing and the Managed Achievement of Sex Status in an ‘Intersexed’ Person, Part One. In Studies in Ethnomethodology.

In this groundbreaking ethnomethodological essay, Garfinkel uses his case study of a male-to-female transsexual presenting for help obtaining genital sex reassignment surgery at UCLA in 1958 to examine the normative beliefs about gender held by non-transgendered individuals in the United States. John Heritage’s exposition of Garfinkel (see below) is illuminating for readers not familiar with ethnomethodology.

GLQ Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 42 (1998) "The Transgender Issue."

Edited by Susan Stryker, this is the first issue of a scholarly journal devoted entirely to transgender studies. Stryker’s introduction (pp. 145-158), while difficult reading for my undergraduate students, provides a useful, though controversial, overview of the field. (Other individual articles are listed below.)

Hale, Jacob. 1996. Are Lesbians Women? Hypatia 112 (Spring) 94-121.

Although not explicitly focused on a transgender topic, this article uses transgendered perspectives and experiences to analyze the dominant definition of the category woman in the contemporary United States.

Hale, C. Jacob. 1997. Leatherdyke Boys and Their Daddies: How to Have Sex without Women or Men. Social Text 52/53 153/4 (Fall/Winter) 223-236.

An auto-ethnographic analysis of leatherdyke genderplay as a system for the production of gendered meaning, illuminating a subcultural sex/gender/sexuality system different from the dominant system in the contemporary United States and facilitating ftm identity formation.

Newton, Esther. 1979. Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Based on two years of field work among drag queens in Chicago and Kansas City, Newton’s classic text remains a standard of rigorous scholarship in its study of the material contexts of drag and camp.

Stone, Sandy. 1992. The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto. Camera Obscura 29 (May) 151-176.

This essay, first published in 1991 and revised for 1992 publication, marks the foundation of transgender studies; it is the first scholarly writing in which an openly transgendered author breaks complicity with the ideologies that have regulated and produced transgendered, especially transsexual, embodiment and subjectivity. Stone’s rich essay sets many of the problematics for transgender studies to this day.

Halperin David M. - How to Do the History of Homosexuality

This collection of revised, previously published essays is not a "how to" but a demonstration of practice. Halperin's One Hundred Years of Homosexuality was a landmark for its nuanced interpretation of ancient Greek homosexuality that went beyond social constructionist/essentialist dichotomies. Here he takes his theoretical explanations further by arguing, among other things, that there are "genealogies" of homosexuality that show continuities over time and space. These, he claims, are what need to be studied and explained, and he cites examples that cover a wide berth in European history and culture. The sections on this topic are the most accessible to a general readership. The last chapter and the appendix are both part of a larger debate on the viability of distinctions between types of homosexuality and whether there is any point to such a debate. The primary audience for this book will be academics, who will be amply rewarded by its insights. Recommended for academic libraries.

Katz Jonathan Ned - The Invention of Heterosexuality

This book focuses on the history and implications of the word heterosexual, and its changing definitions, as they originated in Germany and migrated to the U. S. through translations of Krafft-Ebing and Freud. It traces the heterosexual term and idea as they entered twentieth century American popular culture, where they helped to support a historically specific system of domination that upheld heterosexuals and subordinated homosexuals. The book raises questions about the ontological status of heterosexuality and homosexuality: what kinds of things are they assumed to be? And it considers the political and social impact of those assumptions, and the value of questioning them.

Hooks Bell - Black Looks: Race and Representation

Hooks continues to produce some of the most challenging, insightful, and provocative writing on race and gender in the United States today. In these new essays,the author/academician expands on a theme introduced in Breaking Bread with Cornel West ( LJ 12/91) and in earlier works: In a society that increasingly substitutes style for substance, how are the races represented to one another? Maintaining that white commodification cannibalizes African American culture, sell ing blacks a supermacho image that encourages violence and the subjugation of black women, hooks successfully confronts last fall's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, imperialist images in yuppie mail-order catalogs, Madonna's use of black signifiers, the curious color blindness of feminist film criticism, relations between blacks and Native Americans, and other original and important topics. Highly recommended.

Waters Sarah – Tipping the velvet

When Nancy Astley falls for Kitty Butler, a cross-dressing cabaret singer, she has no idea just how far she'll go from her roots shucking oysters in a seaside resort in Kent. Waters's rowdy debut novel strikes out for a woman finding her independence in turn-of-the-century England, while painting a colorful portrait of the time

Waters Sarah – Fingersmith

Waters' third novel, set in Victorian England, opens when Sue Trinder, an orphan raised by a band of thieves, is recruited by Richard Rivers, a con man known as Gentleman, to help him in his quest to marry Maud Lilly, an heiress living in isolation in the country with her eccentric uncle. Maud stands to inherit a small fortune when she marries, and Gentleman intends to marry her, steal her inheritance, and imprison her in a madhouse. Sue agrees to pose as a maid to Maud and to gain her confidence. But Sue finds Maud sweet and trusting, and, to her surprise, she begins to fall in love with Maud and have serious misgivings about Gentleman's plan. But Sue only knows a small part of the scheme, and it will affect both her and Maud in ways she does not realize. The intricate plotting and startling revelations will keep the reader enthralled, rapidly turning the pages to get to the exciting conclusion. Waters' gripping, engrossing thriller would make the Victorian master of suspense, Wilkie Collins, proud.

Winterson Jeanette – Oranges are not the only fruit

Raised by an oppressively evangelical mother, Jeanette grows up a good little Christian soldier, even going so far as to stitch samplers whose apocalyptic themes terrify her classmates. As she dryly notes, without self-pity or smugness, "This tendency towards the exotic has brought me many problems, just as it did for William Blake." Jeanette would have remained in the fold but for her unconventional desires; though she can reconcile her love of women with her love of God, the church cannot. It could have been a grim tale, but this first novelwinner of England's Whitbread Prizeis in fact a wry and tender telling of a young girl's triumphantly coming into her own. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"

Winterson Jeanette – Written on the body

The most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman. "At once a love story and a philosophical meditation."