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Sex and gender: culture, biology and history – workshop with Helen King (OU)

20th January 2017 @ 11:00 - 12:30

Sex and gender: culture, biology and history.
A workshop with Professor Helen King (OU)
Friday 20th January
11-12.30, Amory 105

The view that sex is fixed in biology while gender categories vary according to social and cultural factors still exists today, but historical evidence suggests caution in making any such assumption. Current scientific work is finding ever more areas where women’s bodies and men’s bodies are very different; and some of this research is being disseminated in popular media, e.g. http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/drugs-work-differently-woman-than-man/. But what are the implications of this increased emphasis on difference for women’s place in society?

When we turn to history, the 1923 Board of Education report http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/hadow1923/hadow1923.html argued that the (entirely normal) unstable levels of calcium, and the (entirely normal) lower levels of haemoglobin in the blood of adolescent girls accounted for ‘the more emotional and high strung nature of the adolescent girl’ (p.119) and meant that they would ‘flag sooner’ (p.120) than boys, thus using biological evidence to reinforce cultural views of women and the social practices of education.

You are invited to come to discuss this topic and to bring with you any texts or images from the historical period you study which could be relevant!

Details

Date:
20th January 2017
Time:
11:00 - 12:30
Event Category:

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