“Overall, the book is a marvellous example of cross-discipline contributions to one topical subject - sex and gender - and anyone curious, or concerned, about historical and cultural constructions of sex and gender should pick it up. As the first in the Social Identities Series, this reviewer will be interested in future volumes and contributions to the subject.”• Third Space: A Journal of Feminist & Film Culture
“…texts such as Changing Sex and Bending Gender are so necessary. An engaging and interesting text, this book should appeal to a wide audience – from those now to the topic to those who have explored this gendered path before.”• Anthropological Forum
Anthropologists and historians have shown us that 'male' and 'female' are variously defined historically and cross-culturally. The contributions to this volume focus on the voluntary and involuntary, temporary or permanent transformation of gender identity. Overall, this volume provides powerful and compelling illustrations of how, across a wide range of cultures, processes of gender transformation are shaped within, and ultimately constrained by, social and political context. From medical responses to biological ambiguity, legal responses to cases brought by transsexuals, the historical role of the eunuch in Byzantium, the social transformation of gender in Northern Albania and in the Southern Philippines, to North American 'drag' shows, English pantomime and Japanese kabuki theatre, this volume offers revealing insights into the ambiguities and limitations of gender transformation.
Alison Shaw is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, Department of Public Health. Her research interests include medical anthropology, ethnicity, kinship and social aspects of genetics. Her publications include Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani families in Britain (Harwood/Routledge 2000); A Pakistani Community in Britain (Oxford: Blackwell 1888) and Get by in Hindi and Urdu (1989 BBC Books).
Shirley Ardener is a Senior Associate of Queen Elizabeth House, the University of Oxford's International Development Centre. She was the Founding Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, now known as the International Gender Studies Centre, whose programme was recognised by her OBE, and of which she is an active honorary member. She has edited and contributed to many books on gender and is the editor of Berghahn's series Cameroon Studies.