Gender, Sexuality and Reproduction in Evolutionary by Venla Oikkonen

By Venla Oikkonen

Since the early Nineties, evolutionary psychology has produced broadly well known visions of contemporary women and men as pushed through their prehistoric genes. In Gender, Sexuality and copy in Evolutionary Narratives, Venla Oikkonen explores the rhetorical charm of evolutionary psychology by means of viewing it as a part of the Darwinian narrative culture.

Refusing to begin from the location of brushing aside evolutionary psychology as reactionary or scientifically invalid, the booklet examines evolutionary psychologists’ investments in such contested innovations as teleology and version. The ebook lines the emergence of evolutionary mental narratives of gender, sexuality and replica, encompassing:

  • Charles Darwin’s figuring out of transformation and sexual difference
  • Edward O. Wilson’s evolutionary mythology and the evolution-creationism controversy
  • Richard Dawkins’ molecular service provider and new imaging technologies
  • the connections among adultery, infertility and homosexuality in adaptationist thought.

Through renowned, literary and medical texts, the booklet identifies either the imaginitive capability and the structural weaknesses in evolutionary narratives, beginning them up for feminist and queer revision. This booklet could be of curiosity to scholars and students of the arts and social sciences, quite in gender stories, cultural stories, literature, sexualities, and technological know-how and expertise studies.

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Epistemic authority does not exist as an omnipresent ether, but rather is enacted as people debate (and ultimately decide) where to locate the legitimate jurisdiction over natural facts” (Gieryn 1999: 15). This contest over the privileged position of science becomes manifest, for example, when Wilson laments the fact that “astonishingly, the high culture of Western civilization exists largely apart from the natural sciences. In the United States intellectuals are virtually defined as those who work in the prevailing mode of the social sciences and humanities” (Wilson 1978: 203).

For Darwin, the apparent and the puzzling are merely indications of a truer, deeper pattern in the natural world, which he describes with “Miltonic ambitions” (Levine 2011: 26). Darwin’s vision of natural selection and speciation, then, emerge precisely through the troubling and evasive multiplicity of origins. At the same time, the ambitiousness of Darwin’s “Miltonic” explanatory scope gives his evolutionary narrative a sense of foundationality. However, this foundationality is not necessarily teleological, since teleology emphasizes a distinct point of origins from which a temporal and causal trajectory may spring.

Through an abundance of examples of variation among wild and domesticated species, Darwin then theorizes the processes through which certain traits become prominent or disappear in populations. In 1871, Darwin published The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, which ventured into the political minefield that was the question of humanity’s place in nature. Invoking again an astonishing range of examples from the natural world, the book traces similarities between humans and animals in behavior and physiognomy as Foundational trajectories 21 well as explains the workings of sexual selection in nature.

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