Gender and Science: Summary
At the beginning of the term, we laid out the following goals for the
- Learn different ways of thinking about what science is, how it's
done, and the role it plays in our world.
- Learn about different schools of feminist thought.
- Critically apply different feminist analyses to the practice of
science and the knowledge produced by science.
- Have fun while working hard and challenging our ideas about
science and gender.
Some questions we have for you:
- What was the most useful thing we read or did in the class? Why?
- What would you tell other students about this class?
- Would you encourage science students to take this class? Why?
- Do your science classes look different to you after having taken
Some themes in the course:
- Historical origins of gendered science. (Keller, Merchant,
- Theories of epistemology. How is knowledge constructed?
Different forms of objectivity. (Kuhn, Haraway, Harding, Rosser)
- Examples/Case Histories of gendered science. (Fausto-Sterling,
- What is science? What is the culture of science like? (Ziman,
- Close attention to language. How are metaphors used, how is
gendered language used, how is the language of secrets used?
- Critically reading primary scientific papers.
Some assertions to consider and debate in the years ahead.
- Every research project is a political act.
- At issue is not the biases or lack of objectivity of individual
scientists. No group of single individuals can change institutional
culture and the structural problems that are attendant with that
culture. Changing individual scientists' values is nowhere near
sufficient for changing the oppressive expressions of science.
- The issue is not that individual scientists have agendas, and
that they thus should seek to be more objective. Rather, the central
issue is that the structure and narrative content science serves to
mask these unconscious assumptions of researchers, making them
invisible and thus almost impossible to address. Power is most
effective when it is invisible. Science is a form of often invisible
power and authority.
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[ Gender and Science ]
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