Meyerowitz, Joanne 1954-

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MEYEROWITZ, Joanne 1954-

PERSONAL: Born April 8, 1954, in Washington, DC; daughter of Irving and Freda (Goldberg) Meyerowitz. Education: University of Chicago, B.A., 1976; Stanford University, M.A., 1978, Ph.D., 1983.

ADDRESSES: Home—1025 East First St., Bloomington, IN 47401. Office—Department of History, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, assistant professor, 1985-90, associate professor of history, 1990-99; Indiana University, Bloomington, professor of history, 1999—.

WRITINGS:

Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

(Editor) Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1994.

How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

(Editor) History and September 11th, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2003.

Editor, Journal of American History, 1999—.

SIDELIGHTS: In a review of Joanne Meyerowitz's book How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States for Publishers Weekly, a critic reviewed the author's position that when George Jorgensen's 1952 sex-change became a media frenzy, the event permanently set the standard for how such issues would be handled by the American media. The reviewer concluded, "On the whole, the book is an invaluable introduction to how ideas about gender and sexuality have evolved." In Booklist, William Beatty noted that Meyerowitz uses both her editing and teaching skills "to explain a confusing subject and pilot readers through a morass of changing terminology and interpretations," and that her work is "detailed and informative."

A critic for Kirkus Reviews described How Sex Changed as a "fascinating account of how transsexuality has challenged American concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality in science, medicine, law, and popular culture in the twentieth century." The twentieth century saw many social and cultural norms challenged and overturned, including attitudes about gender and sexuality. However, transsexuals—and others such as doctors, lawyers, journalists, judges, scientist, feminists, and gay rights advocates also redefined a more fundamental category—biological sex.

On the Indiana University at Bloomington Department of History Web site, Meyerowitz describes this book as using "the social, cultural, and medical history of transsexuality as a window into changing definitions of biological sex, gender, and sexuality in the twentieth century." She explains that the book is built on her research into women's history, an area of study that includes her previous two books. The first, Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930, focuses on what she calls "seemingly marginal" women in the workforce who promoted new understandings of womanhood. In the second, Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960, a volume she edited, she presents a "revisionist" perspective that challenges the stereotype of the postwar suburban housewife.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

Atlantic Monthly, October, 2002, review of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, p. 141.

Booklist, September 15, 2002, William Beatty, review of How Sex Changed, p. 184.

Journal of American Studies, April, 1996, review of Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960, p. 166.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of How Sex Changed, p. 1102.

Nation, January 20, 1995, review of Not June Cleaver, p. 138.

Publishers Weekly, July 1, 2002, review of How Sex Changed, p. 64.

online

Indiana University, Department of History Web site,http://www.indiana.edu/ (October 7, 2002), Profile of Professor Joanne Meyerowitz.