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3.4 out of 5 stars
3
Sex and Gender: A Spectrum of Views
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on April 14, 2014
Another reviewer suggests that this anthology is narrow and specifically religious in its interest, but I don't think that could be farther from the truth.

The editors have brought together a wide variety of viewpoints, and if anything this textbook is more open-ended, more diverse, and more authentically academic than most others that try to tackle this inherently fascinating and interesting subject. The editors are clear that they want to bring together differing viewpoints, and they take seriously that there are deep moral, political, and yes theological questions at stake, without presupposing answers to any of these questions. So a reading from someone who has had a sex-change operation is complemented by a reading from a Catholic priest describing traditional Christian teaching about sexuality, and readings from feminists who want to downplay gender/sexuality differences are complemented by readings from feminists who are more open to exploring such differences; readings defending realism or essentialism about gender are complemented by readings defending social constructivism, and other readings attempting a middle way. Plenty of classic feminist voices are represented (e.g. Andrea Dworkin, Judith Jarvis Thompson, Catherine McKinnon, Katie Rophie, Elizabeth Johnson), as well as prominent philosophers of various stripes (Rawls, Novak, Sandel, Nagel, Russell, Plato). The ideological spectrum is broadened, not narrowed, by including such Christian and conservative voices as Roger Scruton, Robert George, Michael Novak, and Jean Bethke Elshtain. This is truly "a spectrum of views," which actually reflects the spectrum of views in the academy and in the wider population. A book that is this diverse, provocative, philosophical, and balanced is truly academic and deserves to be widely used; the fact that it stands out among others shows how truly narrow, predictable, ideological, and one-sided are more typical college textbook introductions to sex and gender.
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on December 10, 2003
I used this book for a senior seminar on Sex and Gender. This was a nice cross section of readings that the students found readable, and generated some excellent discussions. This anthology is better at representing a more traditional voice than others I examined, and it takes a broader view of the whole topic than others. It has a section on sexual ethics, but also covers the differences between sex and gender, their origins (nature or nurture), and their ramifications for our individual and political lives. If you want more detailed discussions of sexual perversion, rape, pornography, etc., try one of the other anthologies. To my mind, this anthology goes more to the philosophical heart of the issues of sexuality and male-female relationships. The readings don't require a lot of philosophical experience, and the introductions to each section provide short but excellent introductions to the issues treated by the various authors.
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on February 10, 2011
Although the editors of this book claim to present a range of different beliefs, readers should be aware that they themselves advocate a Jurassic view of sexuality and male-female relationships. Celia Wolf-Devine serves as an "expert witness" for groups that oppose marriage equality, testifying that complementary genitalia should be the sole criteria for legally recognized unions. It is a relief to know she is retired from teaching. This textbook belongs more comfortably within a fundamentalist Christian curriculum than in a liberal arts setting.
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