Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender
  • Publication Date: May 17, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781554812837 / 1554812836
  • 224 pages; 6" x 9"

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Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender

  • Publication Date: May 17, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781554812837 / 1554812836
  • 224 pages; 6" x 9"

A new edition of Beyond the Binary is forthcoming fall 2023.

How many sexes are there? What is the relationship between sex and gender? Is gender a product of nature, or nurture, or both? In Beyond the Binary, Shannon Dea addresses these questions and others while introducing readers to evidence and theoretical perspectives from a range of cultures and disciplines, and from sources spanning three millennia. Dea’s pluralistic and historically informed approach offers readers a timely background to current debates about sex and gender in the media, health sciences, and public policy.

This title is also available in a package with Philosophizing About Sex by Laurie J. Shrage and Robert Scott Stewart for the discounted price of $50.95. Please click here for more details or contact Customer Service.


“Shannon Dea has written an amazing book. When you see the table of contents you might think, ‘she can’t possibly do all of this.’ But she does it very well. She discusses a wide variety of historical authors and contemporary topics about sex and gender in a lucid, informal style that students and faculty alike will enjoy.” — Ann Garry, California State University, Los Angeles

“This is a wonderfully gripping, fascinating, and illuminating book. It’s intended as a textbook, and its super-clear prose and helpful discussion questions will make it an excellent one. But it’s also so much more: Dea is a scholar of extraordinary reach, and I have difficulty imagining there being any experts in the field who will fail to learn from this book, with its blend of historical, literary, scientific, and philosophical sources. It’s also incredibly fun to read, packed with fascinating vignettes and facts, and written in an extremely engaging manner. There are not many philosophical works I would classify as page-turners, but this is one.” — Jennifer Saul, University of Sheffield

Beyond the Binary is a lively introduction to historical and contemporary controversies over what sex is, what gender is, and how they are related.” — Charlotte Witt, University of New Hampshire

“Dea has provided an important and comprehensive text, which will surely be an invaluable resource to anyone interested in beginning to unpack the concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender.’ … I commend Shannon Dea for providing educators, thinkers, and the casual reader with such an accessible (yet expansive!) text, and I would strongly recommend this book for anyone teaching introductory-level courses that span the areas of critical sex and gender studies, or for anyone who wants a thorough introduction to the theories behind sex/gender scholarship and the concepts, tools, and methodologies needed to begin examining and interrogating the operations of sex/gender in our lives.” — Heather Stewart, Hypatia Reviews


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Methodology and Terminology
Chapter 3: Aristotelian and Judeo-Christian Models of Sex Difference
Chapter 4: The Second Sex
Chapter 5: The Third Sex
Chapter 6: The Third Gender
Chapter 7: Intersex
Chapter 8: Trans Issues
Chapter 9: Biodeterminism
Chapter 10: The One-Sex Model
Chapter 11: Difference and Equality
Chapter 12: Sex/Gender as Social Construction
Annotated Bibliography

Shannon Dea is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Waterloo.