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Dimen, M. (2013). Introduction: 2013 Symonds Prize Essay. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 14(3):185-186.

(2013). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 14(3):185-186

Symonds Prize 2013

Introduction: 2013 Symonds Prize Essay Related Papers

Muriel Dimen

Through the generosity of the Alexandra and Martin Symonds Foundation, the Editors of Studies in Gender and Sexuality (SGS) award the 2013 Symonds Prize to Alyson K. Spurgas, M.A., for her “Interest, Arousal, and Shifting Diagnoses of Female Sexual Dysfunction, or: How Women Learn About Desire.” Spurgas is a Ph.D. candidate in both sociology and women's and gender studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Due to receive her doctorate in 2014, her dissertation is entitled “Circuits of Desire: Neuroimaging, Evolutionary Femininity, and Therapeutic Learning.”

SGS is committed to a view of knowledge as constructed, historically situated, and meriting the skepticism inherent in both ideology critique and deconstruction. Taking a Foucauldian approach to knowledge construction, Spurgas boldly addresses psychiatric diagnosis and its implications for the understanding, treatment, and well-being of women. Her focus is “the shift from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Women (HSDD) to the new diagnosis, Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SI/AD)” (this issue, p. 187). As she guides us through the arcana of diagnostic terminology, she teases out the theoretical underpinnings and cultural commitments that lead such works as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to characterize women's desire in a surprisingly old-fashioned way.

Spurgas writes in the intellectual tradition that, although respectful of the scientific endeavor, refuses its prima facie claim to disinterested truth.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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