Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Spring 2000). Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Some prefer to read books by going directly to the crux, bypassing any Preface or Introduction. To do so with this book would create confusion, as Lang uses terms idiosyncratically. She defines her terms well, however, presents justifications for employing them, and provides an overview of the study and how she came to write it in both its English and German editions. All this is vital information for those approaching the text.

It has become standard among scholars writing in English to refer to people of mixed, blended, or other genders using first the term for the person's biological sex and then the term for gender enactment: a biological man, for example, who enacts a feminine role has been termed a man-woman. Lang reverses these terms, giving primacy to the role enactment, which she considers to be the most important personal identification, and then the biological sex, which she argues is less relevant. Her argument is well-crafted and makes sense, but may cause readers some initial confusion. It is my only caveat in an otherwise splendid piece of work.