Ph.D., Columbia University, 2002
M.P.H., Columbia University, 1995
B.A., Occidental College, 1991
I am a cultural anthropologist working at the intersection of science and technology studies, theories of gender and race, social studies of medicine, and bioethics. My perspective is informed by anthropological frameworks that seek to identify the deeper symbolic structures that inform understandings of seemingly commonsense ideas like “sex” and “the body” and by training in public health, scientific methods, and ethics. My empirical and analytic approach thus draws on theories and methods from medical and cultural anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, science and technology studies, critical race theory, and biomedical ethics to link several domains of inquiry: human biology, the social construction of knowledge, and relations of power. Across two prior books—Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience and Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography—as well as numerous articles, I have used these lenses to analyze the medical treatment of intersex infants, “sex testing” of elite female athletes, contemporary research on testosterone and, most recently, an ethnography of “sex” as a category.
Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography, written with Rebecca Jordan-Young and published by Harvard University Press, unsettles long-standing knowledge and beliefs about this hormone. Testosterone was awarded the Gold Medal in Science from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Brocher Foundation, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship.
My work on testosterone stems from my earlier research, including my research on “sex testing” and sport regulations that ban women athletes with naturally high testosterone. This research has appeared in Science, The American Journal of Bioethics, BMJ, and Feminist Formations. I contributed to Dutee Chand’s successful appeal of the IAAF’s testosterone regulation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and served as an expert witness in the hearing. I also consulted with Caster Semenya’s team prior to her CAS hearing. I have also contributed the Report of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Intersection of race and gender discrimination in sport (June 2020) and the Human Rights Watch Report, “They’re Chasing Us Away from Sport”: Human Rights Violations in Sex Testing of Elite Women Athletes.
I began my career looking at controversies over treatment for people with intersex traits, which resulted in the book, Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience (Duke 2008). Fixing Sex was a finalist for Lambda Literary Award in 2009 and a nominee for the Margaret Mead Award in 2010.
I teach courses in feminist science and technology studies, medical anthropology, the body and embodiment.
Awards and Honors
John S. Guggenheim Foundation Memorial Fellowship (2016)
American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship (2016)
National Science Foundation, Division of Social and Economic Sciences
Brocher Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) (2013)
Sexuality and Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Science Research Council (2005)
Richard Carley Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (2005)
Martin P. Levine Dissertation Fellowship Award Honorable Mention, Section on Sex and Gender, American Sociological Association (2002)
Social Science Research Council Predoctoral Sexuality Research Fellowship (2001)
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Predoctoral Individual Research Grant (2000)