Published topics include:

  • Rethinking the nature/nurture divide
  • Women in Science/Gender
  • Intersexuality, homosexuality & the construction of heterosexuality
  • Role of race and gender in science


She is the author of pioneering works on gender and sexuality:

Critical Terms for the Study of Gender
Edited by Catharine R. Stimpson and Gilbert Herdt

Chapter 13, Nature
Anne Fausto-Sterling


My dreams sometimes conjure up the woods and stream visible from the living room window of my childhood home. The images are vivid, in color and gender-specific. The pheasant I watch is not merely a bird but, with ornithological precision, a brilliantly colored male with long, magnificent tail feathers, or a brown, well-camouflaged, short-tailed female; the ducks are either mottled brown mallard mothers with ducklings in tow, or the bright green-headed male. The state of nature in my reverie is serene and safe. When danger enters, it is always human or monstrous, a thing capable of destroying my natural haven. In my childhood, danger did, indeed, come from without, from humans who did not care for Communists or Jews, or smart, intellectual, independent adolescent girls. Safety and solace lay in the woods. Those youthful sensations of safety and danger still lie so strongly within me that I can barely suppress my alarm when interacting with students who may never have seen a live frog or even a living cow, and who find natural objects such as worms and snakes neither comforting nor awe-inspiring but repellant. Clearly, my relation to and understanding of that thing we call nature differs from those of my students. Indeed, over the centuries humans have devised varied accounts of the natural world and their relation to it. But there is nothing natural about nature. The pheasants that wandered through my family’s woodland symbolized my safe haven, but the bird did not arrive on US shores until 1866 (Palmer 1899), imported by bird lovers anxious to establish Eurasian species on American soil.

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Les cinq sexes (Petite Bibliothèque Payot 2013)


Description: “Il existera toujours des personnes extrêmement masculines. Simplement, certaines sont des femmes. Et dans mon entourage, certaines personnes des plus féminines sont bel et bien des hommes.”

Pourquoi n’y aurait-il que deux sexes, un mâle et un femelle ? Ne peut-on être à la fois un homme et une femme ? Voici, enfin traduit, l’essai mythique et provocateur qui offrit à la biologiste Anne Fausto-Sterling une notoriété mondiale dans le champ des études sur le genre. S’appuyant sur le cas des hermaphrodites ou “intersexes”, reposant de manière radicale les questions du savoir et des violences faites au nom de la norme sociale, elle montre avec force et ironie comment il est possible de libérer les corps de l’emprise du genre.


Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World (The Routledge Series Integrating Science and Culture) (Routledge 2012)


Also available in: Slovenian


Description: Sex/Gender presents a relatively new way to think about how biological difference can be produced over time in response to different environmental and social experiences.

This book gives a clearly written explanation of the biological and cultural underpinnings of gender. Anne Fausto-Sterling provides an introduction to the biochemistry, neurobiology, and social construction of gender with expertise and humor in a style accessible to a wide variety of readers. In addition to the basics, Sex/Gender ponders the moral, ethical, social and political side to this inescapable subject.


Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (Basic Books, 2000)


Also available in: Spanish, French

Description: “Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced.Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms – sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed – and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist as one of five natural human variants and, as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.”


Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men (Basic Books, 1992)


Description: “By carefully examining the biological, genetic, evolutionary, and psychological evidence, a noted biologist finds a shocking lack of substance behind ideas about biologically based sex differences. Features a new chapter and afterward on recent biological breakthroughs.”

Also available in: German, Japanese


She is the joint editor of “Race and Gender in Science Studies” (University of Illinois Press) and the general editor of a book series entitled “Race, Gender and Science” (Indiana University Press).


Please note: For permission reprinting articles in books, anthologies or large scale copying (i.e. classes), please contact Dr. Fausto-Sterling for permission and pricing.