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Performance all the way down

ISBN: 9780226829784
Format: Paperback
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Origin: US
Release Date: November, 2023

Book Details

In Performance All the Way Down, MacArthur Fellow & Pulitzer Prize finalist Richard O. Prum brings feminist thought into conversation with biology, arguing that the sexual binary is not essential to human genes, chromosomes, or embryos. Our genomes are not blueprints, algorithms, or recipes for the physical representation of our individual sexual essences or fates. In accessible language, Prum shows that when we look closely at the science, we see that gene expression is a material action in the world, a performance through which the individual regulates and achieves its own becoming. A fertilized zygote matures into an organism with tissues & organs, neurological control, immune defenses, psychological mechanisms & gender & sexual behavior through a performative continuum. This complex hierarchy of self-enactment reflects the evolved agency of individual genes, molecules, cells & tissues. Rejecting the notion of an intractable divide between the humanities and the sciences, Prum proves that the contributions of queer & feminist theorists can help scientists understand the human body in new ways, yielding key insights into genetics, developmental biology, physiology. Sure to inspire discussion, Performance All the Way Down is a book about biology for feminists, a book about feminist theory for biologists, and a book for anyone curious about how our sexual bodies grow.