Inviting Me to Speak

If you'd like to invite me to speak, please use my contact page. I'm always tailor my talks to suit audiences, but if you'd like a sense of what I'm generally speaking on right now, here is a sample:

  • Galileo’s Middle Finger: Why Social Progress Depends on the Protection of Academic Freedom -- This talk draws from the speaker’s new book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, and explores the ways in which freedom of research is under assault from multiple fronts, including identity politics activism, the corporatization and branding of universities, and social media shaming campaigns. The speaker, who has twenty years’ experience both as an intersex patient rights activist and as an academic historian, will use case studies to talk about the dangers researchers face today. She will also speak to how researchers can work individually and collectively to try to protect themselves. She argues they must do so not for their own sake, but for the sake of social progress in our fragile democracy.
  • Good Causes, Bad Acts: Scrutinizing Ends and Means in Medical Activism -- This talk draws from the speaker's new book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, and focuses on cases where progressive activists have used problematic means to go after researchers whose findings they believed harmful to their identities or beliefs. It explores an important dimension sometimes ignored in today’s discussions of academic freedom.
  • Reasons to Add—and Reasons NOT to add—an “I” to LGBTQ in Health Care -- Some well-meaning people have moved to add ‘I’ (for intersex) to LGBTQ in health care conversations and settings. This talk explores the reasons for and benefits of such a move, and also the potential harms to patients and points of troubling confusion that may arise from it. The speaker draws on her twenty years of work in the intersex patient rights movement and also from collaborations with pediatricians who treat children born with less typical forms of sex development.
  • Should We Try to Engineer Physical "Normality" in Children? -- Doctors are often quick to offer “normalizing” interventions when a child has a body that challenges social norms. Surgeons offer their services to “fix” children born with atypical genitals and to separate children born conjoined. Endocrinologists offer growth hormone to healthy children who are short. What’s wrong with that kind of approach? This lecture answers that question and will suggest that what would work better is attention to outcomes data (to know what really “works” for these children) and attempts at changing society. The speaker draws on her background as an historian of medicine and patient advocate.
  • Who Should Count as a Woman on the Playing Field? The Question of Intersex and Trans in Sports -- This talk begins with a review of how many sports have historically been divided by gender (man/woman), although we’ve generally pretended the division is by sex (male/female). The more that we learn about gender and sex, the more we know the drawing sex and gender divisions is not so easy. So what should happen in sports? This lecture explores this question, taking into account biology, the nature of sport (including the value of fairness), and social justice concerns. The speaker, who has consulted on this question with the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, will parse out the issues and offer a few possible solutions.

You can click here to read and download a one-page bio that hosts find handy.

As you plan a possible engagement, please consider seeking joint sponsorships. This widens the audience and the conversation.

Some departments that have co-sponsored my visits: Pediatrics, History, Psychiatry, Surgery, Philosophy, Urology, Endocrinology, Psychology, Social Work, Medicine, Anthropology, Sociology, Science Studies, Biology, History and Philosophy of Science, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Disability Studies, Cultural Studies, Medical Ethics, Genetics, Neuroscience, History of Medicine, Evolutionary Biology, Journalism, Creative Writing, and Law.

I apologize in advance that I am not able to accept every invitation I receive.