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Social Science Gender Studies

Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender - Second Edition

by (author) Shannon Dea

Broadview Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Gender Studies, Transgender Studies, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

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How are sex and gender related? Are they the same thing? What exactly is gender? How many genders are there? What is the science on all of this? Is gender a product of nature, nurture, or both? This book introduces readers to fundamental questions about sex and gender categories as they’ve been considered across the centuries and through a wide array of disciplines and perspectives. From the Bible to Darwin, from Enlightenment thinkers to contemporary trans philosophers, Beyond the Binary offers an accessible survey of the wide range of views about sex and gender. This revised and expanded edition uses updated terminology and diagnostic criteria and offers new material with a greater focus on trans, Indigenous, racialized, and subaltern thinkers. It includes useful discussion questions and further reading recommendations at the end of each chapter, as well as an extensive glossary of terms.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Shannon Dea is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts at the University of Regina and former Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Waterloo.

Editorial Reviews

“This is a book that conveys the complexity of living beyond the binary in a clear, precise way, never sacrificing precision for reduction. We need this book, desperately; all those folks—young or old, of various racialized identities, in various places in the world—who refuse to sit quietly within the gender binary will find themselves affirmed by this book. When one can gift not only ideas but a livable life, it is no small feat. Beyond the Binary grants that gift over and over.” — Marquis Bey, Northwestern University

“Now in its second edition, Beyond the Binary remains essential reading for students, researchers, and anyone interested in better understanding the concepts of sex and gender. Shannon Dea offers a profoundly engaging and accessible tour through the complex categories of sex and gender, skillfully combining insights from philosophy, gender theory, theology, history, and biological sciences. This revised edition brings in greater focus on Indigenous and racialized experiences of sex and gender and makes important updates in response to improved knowledge of trans identities and experiences.” — Heather Stewart, Oklahoma State University

“This book is an engaging, rigorously researched introductory guide to some of the central questions around human sex and gender categorizations. It is wonderfully intersectional and interdisciplinary, masterfully surveying and critically engaging a broad array of positions from a host of thinkers, past and present. I highly recommend Beyond the Binary to instructors, students, and any readers wishing to expand their knowledge and deepen their thinking regarding the oft-contested concepts of sex and gender.” — Stephanie Kapusta, Dalhousie University

“The first edition of Beyond the Binary was as thoughtful and teachable a volume as one could ask for on the complex, multidisciplinary issues surrounding sex and gender. The second edition is even better, with expanded discussions of the intersectional conceptual frames necessary for addressing the history of ‘the binary’ and the culturally emergent forms that extend beyond it. Dea presents these complex ideas in a strikingly teachable way, and, frankly, I can’t wait to use this book in the classroom.” — Willis Salomon, Trinity University

“I used the first edition of Beyond the Binary in a second-year course on Queer Literature and Culture because I thought it would be accessible yet rigorous and informative for my students. My students, ranging from those seeking to better understand the Queer Community to those living within it, thoroughly appreciated the text and found it to be a great resource. After reviewing the additions and updates in the second edition, I highly recommend it!” — Bernadette V. Russo, PhD, Mount Saint Vincent University

“This is an extraordinary book that manages to thread multiple needles to great effect. It is accessible to those new to studying sex and gender while remaining philosophically sophisticated and careful throughout. Dea writes with the experience of a gifted teacher, first equipping her readers with the concepts and tools they need and then urging them to think for themselves.” — Barrett Emerick, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

“This book is an excellent introductory text for anyone who wants to think about how we think about sex and gender. It’s also a great introduction to philosophical thinking: examining our assumptions about what seems obvious and reflecting on what’s at stake in thinking otherwise. Complex arguments are carefully considered from various angles, and specialized philosophical, scientific, and activist terminology is clearly explained. Sure to be useful inside the classroom and out!” — Jacqueline Davies, Queen’s University