Rebecca Jordan-Young

Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars

Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

I work at the busy intersection of scientific practice and understandings; the material (especially biological) world; and the major axes of social power, especially sex/gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and economic position. My main research areas have been social epidemiology research (mostly on HIV), analysis of research and claims related to brain organization theory, work on sex/gender and autism, and discordant scientific models and practices in contemporary research on testosterone. Several special lines of attention are important in my work now:

  • Agnotology (systematic attention to the production of ignorance, meaning information that is never gathered or is lost or forgotten);
  • White supremacy (the relentless, usually implicit, presentation of whiteness and Westernness as the biological and cultural norm assumed in biomedical research) – i.e., I am working on bringing structures of racism forward;
  • Paradox of “consensus” (identifying the routine scientific practices and cultural narratives that submerge actual tensions and contradictions within scientific knowledge about power-laden human differences)
  • Interrogating the objectification of research subjects (both explicitly, as with intersex conditions, and implicitly, as is usually the case for racialized “others”) in biological and , including neuroscientific, research. I seek ways to use data without valorizing those data or endorsing the grounds of their production.


Jordan-Young, R.M. Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010 (in paperback 2011).

·       Winner, Distinguished Publication Award, Association for Women in Psychology (2011).

·       French translation (Belin) forthcoming, 2016.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters:

Karkazis, K., and Jordan-Young, R.M. Debating a “Sex Gap” in Testosterone. Science 348:6237. May 22, 2015, 2-4.

Rippon, G. Jordan-Young, R., Kaiser, A., and Fine, C. Recommendations for sex/gender neuroimaging research: Key principles and implications for research design, analysis and interpretation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:650. August 2014. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00650.

Jordan-Young, R., Sonksen, P. and Karkazis, K. Sex, Health, and Athletes. BMJ 28 April 2014; 348:g2926 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2926.

Fine, C., Jordan-Young, R., Kaiser, A., and Rippon, G. Plasticity, plasticity, plasticity ... and the rigid problem of sex. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, November 2013 17(11): 550-551. 

Karkazis, K., Jordan-Young, R.M., Davis, G., and S. Camporesi. “Out of Bounds? A Critique of Policies on Hyperandrogenism in Elite Female Athletes.” The American Journal of Bioethics 12(7): 3-16. Published online June 14, 2012.

Jordan-Young, R. and R. Rumiati. Hardwired for Sexism? Approaches to Sex/Gender in Neuroscience. Neuroethics, 5:3 December 2012, pp 305-315.

Jordan-Young, R. Hormones, Context, and “Brain Gender”: A Review of Evidence from Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Social Science & Medicine 74:11, June 2012, Pages 1738-1744.

Springer, K., Stellman, J. and Jordan-Young, R. Beyond a Catalogue of Differences: A Theoretical Frame and Good Practice Guidelines for Researching Sex/Gender in Human Health. Social Science & Medicine, Volume 74:11, June 2012, Pages 1817-1824.

Cheslack-Postava, K. and Jordan-Young, R.  Autism Spectrum Disorders: Towards a Gendered Embodiment Model. Social Science & Medicine, 74:11, June 2012, Pages 1667-1674.

Jordan-Young, R. (guest editor and contributor). Critical Conceptions: Technologies, Justice, and the Global Reproduction Market. The Scholar & Feminist Online 9.1-9.2: Fall 2010/ Spring 2011.

Nehm, R.H. and Young, R.M. “Sex Hormones” in Secondary School Biology Textbooks. Science & Education. Online First DOI 10.1007/s11191-008-9137-7, March 2008.

Young, R. and Meyer, I. The Trouble with "WSW" and "MSM”: Erasure of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Person in Public Health Discourse. American Journal of Public Health 95:1144-1149, 2005.

Young, R. and Balaban, E. Psychoneuroindoctrinology. Review of The Female Brain, by Louanne Brizendine. Nature. 443(12): 634, 2006.

Young, R., Friedman, S. and Case, P. Exploring an HIV Paradox: An Ethnography of Sexual Minority Women Injectors. Journal of Lesbian Studies. 9(3): 103-133, 2005.

Young, R., Weissman, G., and Cohen, J. Assessing Risk in the Absence of Information: HIV Risk Among Women Injection Drug Users Who Have Sex with Women. AIDS and Public Policy Journal, 7(3):175 183, Fall 1992.


Selected Grants

2013 - National Science Foundation, Science, Technology, and Society Division, "Collaborative Research - Discordant Models of Testosterone Function" (R. Jordan-Young, PI); collaboration with Helen Longino (Co-PI) and Katrina Karkazis, Stanford University; NSF Award # SES-1331123

2012 - Presidential Research Award, Barnard College, "Out of Bounds? Ethical and Scientific Issues in “Gender Verification” of Elite Female Athletes"

2010 - Foundation for Worker, Veteran, and Environmental Health, "Gender, Sex, and Human Health"

2001 – 2004: Principal Investigator, "Measuring Sexual Minority Status Among Women Drug Users"
National Institutes of Health (NIDA)
Grant # R03 DA14399-01

2001 - 2002: Principal Investigator, "Pilot Studies of Analytic Dialogues with Women Drug Users"
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, NDRI, Inc.
Grant #P30 DA11041

1997: Co Investigator, "HIV Risk Among Women Injectors Who Have Sex with Women" NDRI, Inc.
National Institutes of Health (NIDA)
Grant #1 R01 DA10870 01

1997 - 1998: Dissertation Fellow, Sexuality Research Fellowship Program, Social Science Research Council

Selected Honors

2013-15:  Tow Professorship for Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners, Barnard College

2003-04: Health Disparities Scholar, National Center on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NCMHD)

2003: Disability Access Recognition Award, Barnard College

2000: Marisa de Castro Benton Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in the Sociomedical Sciences; Ph.D. dissertation with Distinction

1993: John and Kathleen Gorman Public Health Humanitarian Award, Columbia University School of Public Health


B.A., Bryn Mawr College

M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University