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Dec 5-8, 2023 | Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference

Keynote Speaker Susan Stryker presents, “The Shape of Gender in the 19th Century.”


The standard history of the gender concept traces the long tail of its emergence to the work of sexologist John Money in the 1950s, who is credited with first applying a term borrowed from grammar to the development of psychosocial identity. But the use of gender in the sense attributed to Money can in fact be traced to the 1840s, and the voluminous writings of Orson Fowler, the principal popularizer of phrenology. The phrenological concept of gender was deeply imbricated with the onto-epistemological fallout of Enlightenment humanism in ways that suggest, then as now, that “gender” does the work of aggregating disparate and incommensurable ontoepistemic power/knowledge formulations. Gender, in other words, is an ongoing cultural practice that a contingent quotidian sense of lived reality



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