Some broadly contemporary texts that explore the topic of identity in relation to sex and gender. This list includes recommendations offered by colleagues via Philos-L. Comments  and additional information supplied have been abridged, edited, anonymised, and included in parentheses directly after a suggestion. These are offered in no particular order, and (because of time limitations) in the format received:

  • Georgia Warnke Debating Sex and Gender (very helpful, especially the last few chapters)
  • Sally Haslanger Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique. Oxford University Press, 2012. (recommended by four people, one of whom noted that other texts by her are also useful. Another called it fantastic, a great place to start, and useful for teaching feminist philosophy as well as generally. Someone else noted that it’s not an easy book to read, but manageable for those already reading, say, J. Butler)
  • Haslenger, Sally. “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do we want them to be?”  Nous 34:1 (2000): 31-55 (recommended three times. One person notes you can’t go wrong with it as a good starting point. Another said that even if you disagree with the ideas, you can enjoy reading it; it’s a bit of a classic )
  • Mari Mikkola generally, including the SEP entry on sex and gender
  • Harold Garfnikel Studies in Ethnomethodology, circa 1967. (especially the seminal study of “Agnes”, an “intersexed person”, which is well worth a look)
  • Ian Hacking Rewriting the soul (“social constructionist” study of multiple personality disorder)
  • Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Phenomenal Women’ (speaks about this in a way that academic argument can’t always)
  • Sojourner Truth’s ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ speech (as above, especially when read alongside Iris Marion Young’s ‘Throwing like a Girl’ — see below)
  • Alcoff, Linda. Visible Identities : Race, Gender, and the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Fausto-Sterling, Anne. ‘The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female are not enough’. The Sciences (1993): 20-25.
  • Moi, Toril. What is a Woman? : And Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Also her chapter from the Feminist Reader:…/Feminist_Female_Feminine-ocr.pdf
  • Moore, Henrietta L. ‘Understanding Sex and Gender’. In Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology,  edited by Tim Ingold, 813-830. London: Routledge, 1994.
  • Young, Iris Marion. On Female Body Experience : “Throwing Like a Girl” and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Mikkola, Mari, “Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Autumn 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), accessed 15/10/2013 via
  • Elizabeth Grosz, ‘Space, Time, and Bodies’, Cybersexualities: A Reader On Feminist Theory, Cyborgs and Cyberspace, ed. Jenny Wolmark (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), 119.
  • Charlotte Witt The Metaphysics of Gender (Two recommendations for this. One said that it’s on the topic of identity in relation to gender and sex, though “very metaphysics-y”. Another noted it’s a short book, and may be helpful for the question of whether gender is essential to identity)
  • Fausto-Sterling Sex/Gender: Biology in a social world and Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (used in an upper level class on sex and gender, offers an approach that’s very different from Butler)
  • Shannon Dea Beyond the binary (came out this year, structured like a textbook all about sex and gender)
  • Cordelia Fine Delusions of Gender, plus her recent article where she talked specifically about gender identity:
  • The transgender studies reader vol. 1 and 2.
  • General suggestion: “Queer studies as an academic field is almost entirely devoted to questioning the question, and sometimes answering it too Michael Warner, Michelle Y. Chen, Audre Lorde, Sara Ahmed, and Susan Stryker are some interesting names of particular researchers.”
  • Gloria Anzaldúa Borderlands La Frontera
  • Jacquline Kahanoff Mongrels or Marvels