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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: SoMA: Students of Medical Anthropology


SoMA Book Club

Please join us online on 22nd April at 2pm, to discuss Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness (1969) at SoMA book club. Read everything or just a chapter, and come prepared for an exciting conversation about gender, sex, and power!

There are many ways in which The Left Hand of Darkness can be read. Ursula Le Guin was a pioneering authoress in Science Fiction creating narratives that centre around social and political themes. Published for the first time in 1969, this novel imagines a society of non-gendered people on a planet called Gethen, covered in perpetual snow and ice. The main character, Ai, is a male envoy from Terran (Earth), who landed on Gethen to arrange the planet to join the league of worlds called the Ekumen.

I would invite anybody who can spare the time to read the whole book- even those who aren't so sure about SciFi. If you prefer to read shorter sections, I recommend the following (all or any) to set the scene and as a thematic focus on gender, sex and power.
Chapter 1: A Parade in Erhenrang
Chapter 7: The Question of Sex
Chapter 8: Another Way into Orgoreyn
Chapter 17: An Orgota Creation Myth
For those who want to read an additional Granta article and/or love Ursula Le Guin already, I suggest this:

Link to the session: 

SoMA Book Club is a monthly event that runs throughout the year. We also host regular "Meet the Author" events, in which authors join us in discussions of their books. If you'd like to join Book Club, please feel free to just show up!  You don't have to read the entire book - a chapter is enough. Refreshments are provided.

The 2019-20 book club convenor is Imogen Bevan. If you'd like to suggest a book to discuss or if you have any questions, email

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