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Author DeVun, Leah, author.

Title The shape of sex : nonbinary gender from Genesis to the Renaissance / Leah DeVun.

Publication Info. New York : Columbia University Press, [2021]

Item Status

Description 1 online resource (xiv, 315 pages, 31 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations (some color)
text file PDF
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Introduction: Stories and Selves -- 1. The Perfect Sexes of Paradise -- 2. The Monstrous Races : Mapping the Borders of Sex -- 3. The Hyena's Unclean Sex : Beasts, Bestiaries, and Jewish Communities -- 4. Sex and Order in Natural Philosophy and Law -- 5. The Correction of Nature: Sex and the Science of Surgery -- 6. The Jesus Hermaphrodite : Alchemy in the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance -- Conclusion: Tension and Tenses.
Summary "The Shape of Sex is a pathbreaking history of "hermaphrodites" - as individuals who allegedly combined or crossed sex or gender binaries were called - from 200-1400 C.E. Ranging widely across premodern European thought and culture, Leah DeVun reveals how and why efforts to define "the human" so often hinged on ideas about hermaphrodites. DeVun examines a host of thinkers-theologians, cartographers, natural philosophers, lawyers, poets, surgeons, and alchemists-who used ideas about hermaphrodites as conceptual tools to order their political, cultural, and natural worlds. She reconstructs the cultural landscape navigated by individuals whose sex or gender did not fit the binary alongside debates about animality, sexuality, race, religion, and human nature. The Shape of Sex charts an embrace of hermaphroditism in early Christianity, its brutal erasure at the turn of the thirteenth century, and a new enthusiasm for hermaphroditic transformations at the dawn of the Renaissance. Along the way, DeVun explores beliefs that Adam and Jesus were hermaphrodites; images of "monstrous races" in encyclopedias, maps, and illuminated manuscripts; justifications for violence against purportedly hermaphroditic outsiders such as Jews and Muslims; and the surgical "correction" of bodies that seemed to flout binary divisions. In a moment when questions about sex, gender, and identity have become incredibly urgent, The Shape of Sex casts new light on a complex and often contradictory past. It shows how premodern thinkers created a system of sex and embodiment that both anticipates and challenges modern beliefs about what it means to be male, female-and human"-- Provided by publisher.
Language In English.
Access DRM-free.
Subject Intersex people -- Europe -- History.
Sex -- Europe -- History.
Gender nonconformity -- Europe -- History.
HISTORY / Europe / Medieval.
Gender nonconformity
Intersex people
Genre/Form Electronic books.
Other Form: Print version: DeVun, Leah. The shape of sex New York : Columbia University Press, [2021] 9780231195508 (DLC) 2020030685
ISBN 0231551363 electronic book
9780231551366 electronic book
9780231195508 hardcover
9780231195515 trade paperback
Standard No. 10.7312/devu19550
Report No. (Coutts)059001174
Music No. EB00792727 Recorded Books