Sexual Identities A Cognitive Literary Study

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-01-02
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Cognitive cultural theorists have rarely taken up sex, sexuality, or gender identity. When they have done so, they have often stressed the evolutionary sources of gender differences. In Sexual Identities, Patrick Colm Hogan extends his pioneering work on identity to examine the complexities of sex, the diversity of sexuality, and the limited scope of gender.
Drawing from a diverse body of literary works, Hogan illustrates a rarely drawn distinction between practical identity (the patterns in what one does, thinks, and feels) and categorical identity (how one labels oneself or is categorized by society). Building on this distinction, he offers a nuanced reformulation of the idea of social construction, distinguishing ideology, situational determination, shallow socialization, and deep socialization. He argues for a meticulous skepticism about gender differences and a view of sexuality as evolved but also contingent and highly variable. The variability of sexuality and the near absence of gender fixity--and the imperfect alignment of practical and categorical identities in both cases--give rise to the social practices that Judith Butler refers to as "regulatory regimes." Hogan goes on to explore the cognitive and affective operation of such regimes. Ultimately, Sexual Identities turns to sex and the question of how to understand transgendering in a way that respects the dignity of transgender people, without reverting to gender essentialism.

Author Biography

Patrick Colm Hogan is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the English Department at the University of Connecticut, where he is also affiliated with the program in Cognitive Science and the Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He is the author of 20 books and over 150 scholarly articles on topics in literature, cognition, emotion, and politics. His recent publications include Beauty and Sublimity: A Cognitive Aesthetics of Literature and the Arts (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Imagining Kashmir: Emplotment and Colonialism (University of Nebraska Press, 2016).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sexual Identities
Chapter 1: The Cognitive Organization of Sex, Sexuality, and Gender Identities: Marlowe's Edward II and "The Newly Compiled Tale of the Golden Butterflies"
Chapter 2: What is Sexuality? Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Irons10's "Boyfriends Can Be Fattening"
Chapter 3: What is Gender? Cao's Story of the Stone and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
Chapter 4: Sexuality and Regulatory Regimes: JayŠnta's A Lot of Noise About Tradition and Banks's Lost Memory of Skin
Chapter 5: Gender and Regulatory Regimes: Tagore's Stories and Woolf's Orlando
Chapter 6: What is Sex? Vyasa's Mah and Binnie's Nevada
Afterword: The Commitment to Identity

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