Since the early 1990s, evolutionary psychology has produced widely popular visions of modern men and women as driven by their prehistoric genes. In Gender, Sexuality and Reproduction in Evolutionary Narratives, Venla Oikkonen explores the rhetorical appeal of evolutionary psychology by viewing it as part of the Darwinian narrative tradition.
Refusing to start from the position of dismissing evolutionary psychology as reactionary or scientifically invalid, the book examines evolutionary psychologists’ investments in such contested concepts as teleology and variation. The book traces the emergence of evolutionary psychological narratives of gender, sexuality and reproduction, encompassing:
- Charles Darwin’s understanding of transformation and sexual difference
- Edward O. Wilson’s evolutionary mythology and the evolution-creationism controversy
- Richard Dawkins’ molecular agency and new imaging technologies
- the connections between adultery, infertility and homosexuality in adaptationist thought.
Through popular, literary and scientific texts, the book identifies both the imaginative potential and the structural weaknesses in evolutionary narratives, opening them up for feminist and queer revision. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of the humanities and social sciences, particularly in gender studies, cultural studies, literature, sexualities, and science and technology studies.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. Foundational Trajectories in Darwin and Sociobiology 2. Narrative Variation and the Changing Meanings of Movement 3. The Gendered Politics of Genetic Discourse 4. The Narrative Attraction of Adulterous Desires 5. Reproductive Failure and Narrative Continuity. Conclusion. Bibliography
Venla Oikkonen is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher in Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include literature and science, evolutionary theory, population genomics, and scientific discourses of gender, sexuality, race and nation.