What useful changes has feminism brought to science? Feminists have enjoyed success in their efforts to open many fields to women as participants. But the effects of feminism have not been restricted to altering employment and professional opportunities for women. The essays in this volume explore how feminist theory has had a direct impact on research in the biological and social sciences, in medicine, and in technology, often providing the impetus for fundamentally changing the theoretical underpinnings and practices of such research. In archaeology, evidence of women's hunting activities suggested by spears found in women's graves is no longer dismissed; computer scientists have used feminist epistemologies for rethinking the human-interface problems of our growing reliance on computers. Attention to women's movements often tends to reinforce a presumption that feminism changes institutions through critique-from-without. This volume reveals the potent but not always visible transformations feminism has brought to science, technology, and medicine from within.
Ruth Schwartz Cowan
Linda Marie Fedigan
Evelynn M. Hammonds
Evelyn Fox Keller
Pamela E. Mack
Michael S. Mahoney
This edited collection disrupts tendencies in feminist science studies to dismiss rhetoric as having concern only for language, and it counters posthumanist theories that ignore human materialities and asymmetries of power as co-constituted with and through distinctions such as gender, sex, race, and ability. The eight essays of Feminist Rhetorical Science Studies: Human Bodies, Posthumanist Worlds model methodologies for doing feminist research in the rhetoric of science. Collectively they build innovative interdisciplinary bridges across the related but divergent fields of feminism, posthumanism, new materialism, and the rhetoric of science.
Each essay addresses a question: How can feminist rhetoricians of science engage responsibly with emerging theories of the posthuman? Some contributors respond with case studies in medical practice (fetal ultrasound; patient noncompliance), medical science (the neuroscience of sex differences), and health policy (drug trials of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration); others respond with a critical review of object-oriented ontology and a framework for researching women technical writers in the workplace. The contributed essays are in turn framed by a comprehensive introduction and a final chapter from the editors, who argue that a key contribution of feminist posthumanist rhetoric is that it rethinks the agencies of people, things, and practices in ways that can bring about more ethical human relations.
Individually the contributions offer as much variety as consensus on matters of methodology. Together they demonstrate how feminist posthumanist and materialist approaches to science expand our notions of what rhetoric is and does, yet they manage to do so without sacrificing what makes their inquiries distinctively rhetorical.
From Eve to Evolution provides the first full-length study of American women’s responses to evolutionary theory and illuminates the role science played in the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement. Kimberly A. Hamlin reveals how a number of nineteenth-century women, raised on the idea that Eve’s sin forever fixed women’s subordinate status, embraced Darwinian evolution—especially sexual selection theory as explained in The Descent of Man—as an alternative to the creation story in Genesis.
Hamlin chronicles the lives and writings of the women who combined their enthusiasm for evolutionary science with their commitment to women’s rights, including Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Eliza Burt Gamble, Helen Hamilton Gardener, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These Darwinian feminists believed evolutionary science proved that women were not inferior to men, that it was natural for mothers to work outside the home, and that women should control reproduction. The practical applications of this evolutionary feminism came to fruition, Hamlin shows, in the early thinking and writing of the American birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger.
Much scholarship has been dedicated to analyzing what Darwin and other male evolutionists had to say about women, but very little has been written regarding what women themselves had to say about evolution. From Eve to Evolution adds much-needed female voices to the vast literature on Darwin in America.
Elizabeth A. Wilson Duke University Press, 2015 Library of Congress HQ1190.W548 2015
In Gut Feminism Elizabeth A. Wilson urges feminists to rethink their resistance to biological and pharmaceutical data. Turning her attention to the gut and depression, she asks what conceptual and methodological innovations become possible when feminist theory isn’t so instinctively antibiological. She examines research on anti-depressants, placebos, transference, phantasy, eating disorders and suicidality with two goals in mind: to show how pharmaceutical data can be useful for feminist theory, and to address the necessary role of aggression in feminist politics. Gut Feminism’s provocative challenge to feminist theory is that it would be more powerful if it could attend to biological data and tolerate its own capacity for harm.
For twenty years, the renowned philosopher of science Sandra Harding has argued that science and technology studies, postcolonial studies, and feminist critique must inform one another. In The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader, Harding puts those fields in critical conversation, assembling the anthology that she has long wanted for classroom use. In classic and recent essays, international scholars from a range of disciplines think through a broad array of science and technology philosophies and practices. The contributors reevaluate conventional accounts of the West’s scientific and technological projects in the past and present, rethink the strengths and limitations of non-Western societies’ knowledge traditions, and assess the legacies of colonialism and imperialism. The collection concludes with forward-looking essays, which explore strategies for cultivating new visions of a multicultural, democratic world of sciences and for turning those visions into realities. Feminist science and technology concerns run throughout the reader and are the focus of several essays. Harding provides helpful background for each essay in her introductions to the reader’s four sections.
Contributors Helen Appleton Karen Bäckstrand Lucille H. Brockway Stephen B. Brush Judith Carney Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment Arturo Escobar Maria E. Fernandez Ward H. Goodenough Susantha Goonatilake Sandra Harding Steven J. Harris Betsy Hartmann Cori Hayden Catherine L. M. Hill John M. Hobson Peter Mühlhäusler Catherine A. Odora Hoppers Consuelo Quiroz Jenny Reardon Ella Reitsma Ziauddin Sardar Daniel Sarewitz Londa Schiebinger Catherine V. Scott Colin Scott Mary Terrall D. Michael Warren
In Science and Social Inequality, Sandra Harding makes the provocative argument that the philosophy and practices of today's Western science, contrary to its Enlightenment mission, work to insure that more science will only worsen existing gaps between the best and worst off around the world. She defends this claim by exposing the ways that hierarchical social formations in modern Western sciences encode antidemocratic principles and practices, particularly in terms of their services to militarism, the impoverishment and alienation of labor, Western expansion, and environmental destruction. The essays in this collection--drawing on feminist, multicultural, and postcolonial studies--propose ways to reconceptualize the sciences in the global social order.
At issue here are not only social justice and environmental issues but also the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our understandings of natural and social worlds. The inadvertent complicity of the sciences with antidemocratic projects obscures natural and social realities and thus blocks the growth of scientific knowledge. Scientists, policy makers, social justice movements and the consumers of scientific products (that is, the rest of us) can work together and separately to improve this situation.
This volume presents the first systematic evaluation of a feminist epistemology of sciences’ power to transform both the practice of science and our society. Unlike existing critiques, this book questions the fundamental feminist suggestion that purging science of alleged male biases will advance the cause of both science and by extension, social justice.
The book is divided into four sections: the strange status of feminist epistemology, testing feminist claims about scientific practice, philosophical and political critiques of feminist epistemology, and future prospects of feminist epistemology. Each of the essays¾most of which are original to this text¾ directly confronts the very idea that there could be a feminist epistemology or philosophy of science. Rather than attempting to deal in detail with all of the philosophical views that fall under the general rubric of feminist epistemology, the contributors focus on positions that provide the most influential perspectives on science. Not all of the authors agree amongst themselves, of course, but each submits feminist theories to careful scrutiny. Scrutinizing Feminist Epistemology provides a timely, well-rounded, and much needed examination of the role of gender in scientific research.