Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Unmaking Sex: The Gender Outlaws of Nineteenth-Century France

08 February 2023, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Unmaking Sex book cover

Anne E. Linton (San Francisco State) will discuss her recent book 'Unmaking Sex: The Gender Outlaws of Nineteenth-Century France'

Event Information

Open to



Professor Patrick Bray

Join the event via Zoom here

UnMaking Sex (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

During the nineteenth century, words like 'intersex' and 'trans' had not yet been invented to describe individuals whose bodies, or senses of self, conflicted with binary sex. But that does not mean that such people did not exist. In nineteenth-century France, case studies filled medical journals, high-profile trials captured headlines, and doctors staked their reputations on sex determinations only to have them later reversed by colleagues. While medical experts fought over what separated a man from a woman, novelists began to explore debates about binary sex and describe the experiences of gender-ambiguous characters.

Anne Linton discusses over 200 newly-uncovered case studies while offering fresh readings of literature by several famous writers of the period, as well as long-overlooked popular fiction. This landmark contribution to the history of sexuality is the first book to examine intersex in both medicine and literature, sensitively relating historical 'hermaphrodism' to contemporary intersex activism and scholarship.

This event will be held online via Zoom: https://ucl.zoom.us/j/93023018668?pwd=YjRsR3BGRkN5RjRIUG5YT0kvRm9Cdz09 (Meeting ID: 930 2301 8668, Passcode: 834860)

Event organised by the Centre for French and Francophone Research and UCL SELCS.

About the Speaker

Anne E. Linton

Associate Professor of French at San Francisco State University

Her research interests and publications span a wide range of interdisciplinary topics in nineteenth-century cultural studies, including gender studies, science, and medicine.

More about Anne E. Linton