How did plant sexuality come to so hauntingly resemble human sexual formations? How did plant biology come to theorize plant sexuality with binary formulations of male/female, sex/gender, sperm/egg, active males and passive females—all of which resemble western categories of sex, gender, and sexuality? Tracing the extant language of sex and sexuality in plant reproductive biology, we examine the histories of science to explore how plant reproductive biology emerged historically from formations of colonial racial and sexual politics and how evolutionary biology was premised on the imaginations of racialized heterosexual romance. Drawing on key examples, the paper aims to (un)read plant sexuality and sexual anatomy and bodies to imagine new possibilities for plant sex, sexualities, and their relationalities. In short, plant sex and sexuality are not two different objects of inquiry but are intimately related—it is their inter-relation that is the focus of this essay. One of the key impulses from the humanities that we bring to this essay is a careful consideration of how terms and terminologies are related to each other historically and culturally. In anthropomorphizing plants, if plant sexuality were modeled on human sexual formations, might a re-imagination of plant sexuality open new vistas for the biologicalmore »
Sexual and gender minorities face considerable inequities in society, including in science. In biology, course content provides opportunities to challenge harmful preconceptions about what is “natural” while avoiding the notion that anything found in nature is inherently good (the appeal-to-nature fallacy). We provide six principles for instructors to teach sex- and gender-related topics in postsecondary biology in a more inclusive and accurate manner: highlighting biological diversity early, presenting the social and historical context of science, using inclusive language, teaching the iterative process of science, presenting students with a diversity of role models, and developing a classroom culture of respect and inclusion. To illustrate these six principles, we review the many definitions of sex and demonstrate applying the principles to three example topics: sexual reproduction, sex determination or differentiation, and sexual selection. These principles provide a tangible starting place to create more scientifically accurate, engaging, and inclusive classrooms.
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- p. 481-492
- Oxford University Press
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- National Science Foundation
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