Science Has No Sex: The Life of Marie Zakrzewska, M.D. / Edition 1

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Overview

German-born Marie Zakrzewska (1829-1902) was one of the most prominent female physicians of nineteenth-century America. Best known for creating a modern hospital and medical education program for women, Zakrzewska battled against the gendering of science and the restrictive definitions of her sex. In Science Has No Sex, Arleen Tuchman examines the life and work of a woman who continues to challenge historians of gender to this day. At a time when most women physicians laid claim to "female" qualities of care and nurturance to justify their professional choice, Zakrzewska insisted that all physicians, regardless of gender, should depend upon the rational faculties developed through training in the natural sciences. She viewed science as a democratizing tool—anyone could master science, she asserted, and therefore the doors to the elite profession of medicine should be opened to all. Shedding light on the changes that radically transformed medicine in the late nineteenth century, Tuchman's analysis also demonstrates how Zakrzewska's activism is important to the ongoing debate over the relationship between science and sex.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Offers a comprehensive and insightful story about nineteenth-century notions of science, medicine, and gender. . . . An important contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century medical trends.--Canadian Journal of History

Comprehensive and meticulously researched. . . . Adds another level of complexity to the scholarship on women and medicine.--Women's History Magazine

Tuchman's meticulously researched biography of Marie Zakrzewska makes a valuable contribution to the history of women in nineteenth-century American medicine. . . . The power of this biography lies in its scrupulous attention to the historical record and in Tuchman's talent for tracing intertwined stories of lives, relationships, and institutions.--Journal of American History

Brings to light many of the tensions that women still face today while pursuing careers in science. . . . This biography . . . comes at a very crucial time.--New England Quarterly"

Scholarly, engaging. . . . This superb biography, arriving at a time when comparing the brains of men and women is again all the scientific rage, is a welcome addition to the long debate over sex and science.--New England Journal of Medicine

This thoughtful, informed, and highly readable biography describes an important figure in U.S. women's history and the history of medicine.--American Historical Review

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Doris Wisher, MLS, MA, AHIP (Touro University-Nevada)
Description: This is a book about the life and work of a medical doctor, a woman named Marie Zakrzewska, who set about to cleanly separate science from gender in 19th century America. She insisted that anyone steeped in the natural sciences and trained in medicine could be a physician, no matter what gender.
Purpose: The author successfully profiles Dr. Zakrzewska, who devoted her professional life to proving that science/medicine is a "democratizing tool." In other words, since she believed anybody could master science, including medicine, the doors to the practice of medicine should swing wide open to both genders. In 1862, Dr. Zakrzewska practiced what she preached by founding the New England Hospital for Women and Children, all the while battling Victorian Era society's restrictive definition of her gender.
Audience: Students of American history, scholars of history of medicine and women's studies, as well as medical students, health science professionals, medical educators, and anyone of either gender interested in learning how one intelligent woman defied society and paved the way for today's women in medicine will enjoy reading this book.
Features: The author covers her subject in 12 chapters along with an inviting introduction, 45 comprehensive pages of notes, a bibliography, and a fine index. Among the six illustrations, three photographs of Dr. Zakrzewska help put a face on the woman. Nine tables, strategically positioned in the book, accentuate the author's meaty presentation.
Assessment: This book provides more than a passing glance at one of the "way showers" of modern medicine in America. Without mincing words, this work delves deep into society's gender norms and mores and resurfaces clearly demonstrating "science has no sex."
From The Critics
Reviewer: Doris Wisher, MLS, MA, AHIP(Touro University-Nevada)
Description: This is a book about the life and work of a medical doctor, a woman named Marie Zakrzewska, who set about to cleanly separate science from gender in 19th century America. She insisted that anyone steeped in the natural sciences and trained in medicine could be a physician, no matter what gender.
Purpose: "The author successfully profiles Dr. Zakrzewska, who devoted her professional life to proving that science/medicine is a "democratizing tool." In other words, since she believed anybody could master science, including medicine, the doors to the practice of medicine should swing wide open to both genders. In 1862, Dr. Zakrzewska practiced what she preached by founding the New England Hospital for Women and Children, all the while battling Victorian Era society's restrictive definition of her gender. "
Audience: "Students of American history, scholars of history of medicine and women's studies, as well as medical students, health science professionals, medical educators, and anyone of either gender interested in learning how one intelligent woman defied society and paved the way for today's women in medicine will enjoy reading this book. "
Features: The author covers her subject in 12 chapters along with an inviting introduction, 45 comprehensive pages of notes, a bibliography, and a fine index. Among the six illustrations, three photographs of Dr. Zakrzewska help put a face on the woman. Nine tables, strategically positioned in the book, accentuate the author's meaty presentation.
Assessment: "This book provides more than a passing glance at one of the "way showers" of modern medicine in America. Without mincing words, this work delves deep into society's gender norms and mores and resurfaces clearly demonstrating "science has no sex." "
From the Publisher
"Comprehensive and meticulously researched. . . . Adds another level of complexity to the scholarship on women and medicine."
Women's History Magazine

"Offers a comprehensive and insightful story about nineteenth-century notions of science, medicine, and gender. . . . An important contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century medical trends."
Canadian Journal of History

"Brings to light many of the tensions that women still face today while pursuing careers in science. . . . This biography . . . comes at a very crucial time."
New England Quarterly

From The Critics
Reviewer: Doris Wisher, MLS, MA, AHIP (Touro University-Nevada)
Description: This is a book about the life and work of a medical doctor, a woman named Marie Zakrzewska, who set about to cleanly separate science from gender in 19th century America. She insisted that anyone steeped in the natural sciences and trained in medicine could be a physician, no matter what gender.
Purpose: The author successfully profiles Dr. Zakrzewska, who devoted her professional life to proving that science/medicine is a "democratizing tool." In other words, since she believed anybody could master science, including medicine, the doors to the practice of medicine should swing wide open to both genders. In 1862, Dr. Zakrzewska practiced what she preached by founding the New England Hospital for Women and Children, all the while battling Victorian Era society's restrictive definition of her gender.
Audience: Students of American history, scholars of history of medicine and women's studies, as well as medical students, health science professionals, medical educators, and anyone of either gender interested in learning how one intelligent woman defied society and paved the way for today's women in medicine will enjoy reading this book.
Features: The author covers her subject in 12 chapters along with an inviting introduction, 45 comprehensive pages of notes, a bibliography, and a fine index. Among the six illustrations, three photographs of Dr. Zakrzewska help put a face on the woman. Nine tables, strategically positioned in the book, accentuate the author's meaty presentation.
Assessment: This book provides more than a passing glance at one of the "way showers" of modern medicine in America. Without mincing words, this work delves deep into society's gender norms and mores and resurfaces clearly demonstrating "science has no sex."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807830208
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/29/2006
  • Series: Studies in Social Medicine Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.58 (w) x 6.22 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Arleen Marcia Tuchman is professor of history and affiliated member of the program in women's and gender studies at Vanderbilt University. She is author of Science, Medicine, and the State in Germany: The Case of Baden, 1815-1871.
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