Image: Mark Addison Smith "Fagget Fucker (sic) Gay Alphabet" series—a queer typography for combating against graffitied hate speech Join the Convers

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Image: Mark Addison Smith
"Fagget Fucker (sic) Gay Alphabet" series—a queer typography for combating against graffitied hate speech

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Science (as) Culture: Redefining Sex & Gender

Learning from the past: societal perspectives on sex & gender and the role of science in shaping these views

Throughout history, cultural expectations around gender identity have largely been influenced by one’s reproductive organs and the appearance of being ‘male’ or ‘female’. The discovery of the XX/XY chromosomes commonly known as ‘sex genes’, in mammals in 1959 further cemented a binary view of sex as the societal ‘norm’. Fast forward to today, with advancements in DNA sequencing and cellular biology, scientists have uncovered genetic underpinnings that point to sex not as binary but existing on a spectrum. The conflicting view of gender and sexual identity as either binary or a spectrum has become a central political and cultural debate and yet these new scientific insights have had little influence in these debates compared to those that contributed to the binary view.

In this three-part series, we aim to discuss a wide range of intersecting topics that add to the complex societal hurdles around gender identity including the history of religious and cultural perspectives around sex, the role of science in shaping views on gender identity, and the intersection of psychology, religion, and social pressures. Ultimately, we conduct this discussion, looking back and to the present, with open curiosity regarding the role of science in leveraging cultural change.

Take a seat at the table and be prepared to take participate in this three-part conversation redefining sex & gender.

Special Guests:

Dr. Deborah Tolman has been doing qualitative research on gender and adolescent sexuality for over twenty years. She has studied adolescent girls’ experiences of sexual desire (aged 15-17), primarily using narratives elicited through individual interviews and analyses of those narratives to understand how girls experience themselves, their bodies, their identities and how they navigate heterosexual and same-sex sexual encounters and relationships. Her first book, Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality, provided researchers, practitioners, teachers, parents and girls a new way of approaching the discussion and study of adolescent girls’ sexuality. She revisited the original questions from Dilemmas in a new study, to include the development of social media, new technologies, and current representations of diverse girls’ sexuality as part of what girls have to navigate.

She is currently writing a new book about girls' sexuality, Catching Feelings: Teenage Girls Talk about Desire, Sex and Relationships, a psychological study of how girls are navigating their sexual feelings in the landscape of today.

Lisa Jean Moore is a medical sociologist and Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Purchase College, State University of New York. Her scholarship is located at the intersections of sociology of health and medicine, science and technology studies, feminist studies, animal studies and body studies. She is the author of Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man’s Most Precious Fluid and the co-author of Gendered Bodies: Feminist Perspectives and Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility and numerous articles in journals such as Ethnography, Social Text and Body and Society. Additionally she has co-edited a collection The Body Reader and is the co-founder of a successful book series at NYU Press entitled Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the 21st Century. With Mary Kosut, she has released Buzz: Urban Beekeeping and the Power of the Bee. Her forthcoming book, The Body: Social and Cultural Dissections co-written with Monica J. Casper, will be published by Routledge in late 2014.

She is now engaged in a new research project that explores the intraspecies relationships between humans and Limulus (Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs).

Mark Addison Smith’s design specialization is typographic storytelling: allowing illustrative text to convey a visual narrative through printed matter, artist’s books, and site installations. His artwork is included in the permanent collections of MoMA Franklin Furnace, Tate Library, Getty Research Institute, Kinsey Institute, Watson Library at The Met, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library at the Whitney, and Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. He has spoken about linguistics and letterforms—specifically as they relate to queer dynamics within bathroom graffiti—at the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Vienna, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, American University, DC, and Rhode Island School of Design, among others. With his on-going, text-based archive, You Look Like The Right Type, he has been illustrating fragments of overheard conversations every day since 2008 and exhibiting them as larger-scale conversations in galleries from Brooklyn to Budapest and online at Chapter contributions include Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden Consequences (Routledge, 2016) and Queering Translation, Translating the Queer (forthcoming: Routledge, 2018). In upcoming exhibition news: images from his Fagget Fucker (sic) Gay Alphabet typographic series will be on display in Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, opening March 10, 2017 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Manhattan. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and teaches in the Art Department at The City College of New York (CUNY) in New York City.


Part 1. Learning from the past

Societal perspectives on sex & gender and the role of science in shaping these views

March 1st

Part 2. Rethinking sex & gender in today’s world

What we can learn from modern-day psychology, biology, medicine, and society

April 5th

Part 3. Looking to the future, a 1000-year view

Exploring creative collaborations to redefine sex and reshape societal perspectives on sex & gender

May 3rd


The Commons Café, 388 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn


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