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Richard O. Prum

The Performance of Gender

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Tue Nov 28, 2023
7:30 pm PST


The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Performance All the Way Down: Genes, Development, and Sexual Difference

Third Place Books

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Science and humanities are often considered to be mutually exclusive fields. Growing up, you are often advised to stick to one rather than the other, or told that you are “right-brained” as opposed to “left-brained,” or “Science minded” but not “creative.” Yet as we continue to see the ways sociology, psychology, and philosophy inform how we approach hard science, the divisions between the fields appear less solid.

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Where most scientific research over the past seventy years has assumed a division in biological sex, Richard Prum argues that the sexual binary is not actually essential to human genes, chromosomes, or embryos. Rather, a fertilized zygote matures into an organism with tissues and organs, immune defenses, neurological control, and gender and sexual behavior through performance.

By blending decades of queer feminist thought with rigorous scientific research, Prum challenges the societal narrative that sex and gender exist in a binary.

Join us at Town Hall, where Richard Prum will discuss the ways in which feminist theory can offer scientists a radically different understanding of the human body.

Richard O. Prum is a biologist, ornithologist, and Pulitzer Prize finalist, whose new book, Performance All the Way Down, brings feminist thought directly into conversation with biology. The idea that gender is performed has been a tenet of queer feminist theory since the nineties and nowadays has reached the realm of popular thought. Prum not only agrees with this perspective based on scientific research but goes further to suggest that the sexual binary itself is a performative act.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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