Critical Terms for the Study of Gender

Stimpson Catharine R Herdt Gilbert

This volume is the sixth in a series of "Critical Terms" coursebooks that originated in 1990 with" Critical Terms for Literary Study," edited by Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. The success of that volume (it has sold more than 80,000 copies in two editions) prompted the Press to commission similar collections for other fields, including art history (edited by Robert Nelson and Richard Schiff), religious studies (edited by Mark Taylor), Buddhist studies (edited by Donald Lopez), and media studies (edited by W. J. T. Mitchell and Mark Hansen).

"Critical Terms for the Study of Gender" aims to give students an introduction to the study of gender through essays on key terms ranging from "Bodies" to "Utopia." Designed for an audience of upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students, the volume presents twenty-one essays (all but four published here for the first time) on terms that are fundamental to this vital area of study but often unexamined by many students. Contributors explain what conceptual freight each term carries and what kinds of critical work it can be made to do. Avoiding "-isms" and specialized jargon, the collection focuses instead on terms that are part of everyday discourse in the university but no less loaded for that.

Catharine R. Stimpson, a pioneer of women's studies and of the analysis of gender in literary texts, and Gilbert Herdt, an anthropologist known for his work on how cultures create sexual meanings and practices, have assembled a collection that spans the study of gender and sexuality across the humanities and social sciences. Together, they have compiled a book of essays that will appeal to students within traditional gender studies programs, as well as those working outside the bounds of institutionalized gender studies who may be studying gender in very different disciplinary contexts.
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"Gender systems pervade and regulate human lives--in law courts and operating rooms, ballparks and poker clubs, hair-dressing salons and kitchens, classrooms and playgroups. . . . Exactly how gender works varies from culture to culture, and from historical period to historical period, but gender is very rarely not at work. Nor does gender operate in isolation. It is linked to other social structures and sources of identity."

So write women's studies pioneer Catharine R. Stimpson and anthropologist Gilbert Herdt in their introduction to Critical Terms for the Study of Gender, laying out the wide-ranging nature of this interdisciplinary and rapidly changing field. The sixth in the series of "Critical Terms" books, this volume provides an indispensable introduction to the study of gender through an exploration of key terms that are a part of everyday discourse in this vital subject.

Following Stimpson and Herdt's careful account of the evolution of gender studies and its relation to women's and sexuality studies, the twenty-one essays here cast an appropriately broad net, spanning the study of gender and sexuality across the humanities and social sciences. Written by a distinguished group of scholars, each essay presents students with a history of a given term--from bodies to utopia--and explains the conceptual baggage it carries and the kinds of critical work it can be made to do. The contributors offer incisive discussions of topics ranging from desire, identity, justice, and kinship to love, race, and religion that suggest new directions for the understanding of gender studies. The result is an essential reference addressed to students studying gender in very different disciplinary contexts.

More Information
Publisher University of Chicago Press
ISBN-10 0226774813
ISBN-13 9780226774817
GTIN-13 9780226774817
GTIN-14 09780226774817
Series Critical Terms
Author Stimpson Catharine R|Herdt Gilbert
Edition 1
Language Code eng
Page Count 557
Publication Date Jul 15, 2014
Dimension 6.1 in 8.9 in 1.3 in