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The Origins of Orientation: Sexuality in the 21st Century

Saturday, June 4, 2011
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Sexuality and gender play a profound role in shaping identity, but for much of human history how they are determined has remained obscure. How does sexual orientation develop? What is it? Can it be changed? What is the relationship between sexuality and gender? How do biology and culture interact to produce it? Why does homosexuality defy evolution’s dictate for reproduction? The long list of questions that has spanned centuries may finally be getting answers.


Andrew SolomonWriter, Activist

Andrew Solomon’s most recent book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the 2001 National Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; it has received 14 additional national awards and is published in 24 languages.

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Meredith ChiversPsychologist

Meredith Chivers is an assistant professor and Director of the Sexuality & Gender Laboratory in the Psychology Department at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University and completed post-doctoral research training at the University of Toronto’s Centre.

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Jim PfausPsychologist, Neuroscientist

Jim Pfaus has sex on the brain. An internationally known expert in the neurobiology of sexual behavior, Pfaus has authored over 150 publications and chapters that examine how the brain’s neurochemical and neuroanatomical systems are organized for sexual arousal, desire, pleasure, and inhibition.

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Paul VaseyBehavioral Neuroscientist

If reproduction is the engine that drives evolution, why engage in non-conceptive sex? In his attempt to tackle this question, Paul Vasey employs concurrent cross-species and cross-cultural perspectives.

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Marc BreedloveNeuroscientist

Marc Breedlove has written over 100 scientific articles investigating the role of hormones in shaping the developing and adult nervous system, publishing in journals including Science, Nature, and Nature Neuroscience, as well as two textbooks, Biological Psychology and Behavioral Endocrinology.

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