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    Western Michigan University
  Jan 19, 2018
Undergraduate Catalog 2017-18
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ANTH 3480 - Gender and Plastic Bodies

In U.S. society we tend to assume that there are two sexes - male and female. Even if we have learned that gender roles can change, as in expecting men to be more nurturing while more and more women pursue careers for example, we tend to accept that this is simply social change based on natural sexes. In this course we will focus on the United States with some cross-cultural comparisons in order to question this assumption of “natural” sexes as we explore physiological variations as they are culturally interpreted and understood and cultural interventions of “natural” sex. Thus, based on work in our own society and cross-culturally, we will focus our attention at and beyond the limits of sex and gender, examining: (1) the ways in which human societies interpret physiological variation; (2) transgender experiences and categories as they vary cross-culturally; (3) and the role of technology in (re)shaping the “natural” sexes. Whether we are considering cyborg bodies, virtual bodies, tattooed and pierced bodies, or bodies surgically altered in a stunning variety of ways, we will be asking what is “natural” and “unnatural” about the assumed biological categories of male and female.

Credits: 3 hours

Notes: This course satisfies General Education Area III: The United States: Cultures and Issues.

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