This chapter situates the sex chromosomes within the history of twentieth century theories of sex, gender, and sexuality. The author shows how the X and Y chromosomes, thought of as “sex itself,” came to anchor a conception of sex as a biologically fixed and unalterable binary. The chapter frames the book’s major questions, locating them within scholarship in feminist science studies and social, historical, and philosophical research on the social dimensions of science. The book’s theoretical and methodological innovations, including the concepts of “modeling gender in science,” “gender analysis,” “gender criticality,” and “gender valence,” are introduced and defined.
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