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The Past and Future of Nonbinary History

General Programming

dateOctober 13, 2023 timeFriday, 4:00pm–5:30pm EDT location Buell Hall, East Gallery, Columbia University
  • Columbia Maison Française
  • Department of French
  • Department of History
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Medieval manuscript page of priest with nonbinary people

Leah DeVun will be talking about her research on non-binary history and her recent book, The Shape of Sex: Nonbinary Gender from Genesis to the Renaissance (Columbia University Press, 2021). Her pathbreaking history of nonbinary sex focuses on ideas and individuals who allegedly combined or crossed sex or gender categories from 200–1400 C.E. The book considers a host of thinkers–theologians, cartographers, natural philosophers, lawyers, poets, surgeons, and alchemists—who used ideas about nonbinary sex as conceptual tools, not only to order their political, cultural, and natural worlds but to define "the human."


Leah DeVun is a Professor at Rutgers University, where she teaches courses in History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the co-editor of "Trans*historicities" (with Zeb Tortorici), a special issue of the journal TSQ (Duke University Press, 2018), and author of Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time (Columbia University Press, 2009), winner of the John Nicholas Brown Prize.