Testosterone. An Unauthorized Biography: The Athletics Dimension

May 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that female athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone could not compete as women unless they made efforts to reduce the hormone in their bodies. The ruling came in a case brought by the middle-distance runner Caster Semenya (2009) against the International Association of Athletics Federations that challenged longstanding myths about the presumed masculinity of testosterone and its role in the body. Semenya’s current loss demonstrates just how entren-ched those myths have become.

Against this backdrop of Semenya‘s case and the scientific and historical complexity of „gender verification“ in elite sports, Rebecca Jordan Young and Katrina Karkazis will question these new sports policies within an intersectional frame-work of feminist science studies and sociopolitics and will take up the discussion of their newest book, Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography, Harvard Univ. Press, awarded with a Guggenheim Fellowship.

This talk (Thursday, February 18, 16-18:30), is organized by the guest lecturer Sigrid Schmitz with the GeStiK (Gender Studies in Cologne) at the University of Cologne.

The talk will be held online via zoom. You can find the zoom link with the QR-Code (PDF) or on the GeStiK-homepage

Rebecca Jordan-Young (PhD) is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, University of Columbia, New York. As an interdisciplinary feminist scientist and science studies scholar she explores the reciprocal relations between science and the social hierarchies of gender, sexuality, class, and race. Her scientific work on hormones, epidemiology and NeuroGenderings was published broadly in scientific journals in neuroscience, public health, medical and social science, and in feminist journals, as well as in popular media. Karolin Heckemeyer (PhD) teaches at the Pädagogischen Hochschule FHNW, Schweiz. Her research as a sociologist and sports researcher focusses on questions of gender diversity and social inequalities in sports. With her book on „Leistungsklassen und Geschlechtertests. Die heteronormative Logik des Sports“ [Performance scales in sports and Sex testing] she is one of the best known experts on the athletics case in Germany. Katrina Karkazis (PhD) is Visiting Professor at Emory University, Atlanta. The cultural anthropologist and bioethicist works at the intersection of science and technology studies, theories of gender and race, social studies of medicine, and bioethics. Her work on the intersection of testosterone, intersex issues, sex verification in sports, treatment practices, policy and lived experiences has been published widely in scientific and public media. Katrina was an expert witness in Dutee Chand’s successful appeal of testosterone regulations at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and consulted with Caster Semenya’s team prior to her hearing at CAS.