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Searching for Scientific Womanpower: Technocratic Feminism and the Politics of National Security, 1940-1980

Searching for Scientific Womanpower: Technocratic Feminism and the Politics of National Security, 1940-1980

by Laura Micheletti Puaca
Searching for Scientific Womanpower: Technocratic Feminism and the Politics of National Security, 1940-1980

Searching for Scientific Womanpower: Technocratic Feminism and the Politics of National Security, 1940-1980

by Laura Micheletti Puaca

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Overview

This compelling history of what Laura Micheletti Puaca terms "technocratic feminism" traces contemporary feminist interest in science to the World War II and early Cold War years. During a period when anxiety about America's supply of scientific personnel ran high and when open support for women's rights generated suspicion, feminist reformers routinely invoked national security rhetoric and scientific "manpower" concerns in their efforts to advance women's education and employment. Despite the limitations of this strategy, it laid the groundwork for later feminist reforms in both science and society. The past and present manifestations of technocratic feminism also offer new evidence of what has become increasingly recognized as a "long women's movement."

Drawing on an impressive array of archival collections and primary sources, Puaca brings to light the untold story of an important but largely overlooked strand of feminist activism. This book reveals much about the history of American feminism, the politics of national security, and the complicated relationship between the two.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469610825
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 06/02/2014
Series: Gender and American Culture
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 278
File size: 868 KB

About the Author

Laura Micheletti Puaca is assistant professor of history at Christopher Newport University.

Table of Contents


This compelling history traces contemporary feminist interest in science to the World War II and early Cold War years. During a period when anxiety about America's supply of scientific personnel ran high and when open support for women's rights generated suspicion, feminist reformers routinely invoked national security rhetoric and scientific "manpower" concerns in their efforts to advance women's education and employment. Puaca brings to light the untold story of an important but largely overlooked strand of feminist activism. This book reveals much about the history of American feminism, the politics of national security, and the complicated relationship between the two.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A superbly researched and gracefully presented study of how activist women in the sciences, in conjunction with sympathetic allies in a few mainstream feminist-oriented women's organizations, utilized the language and cause of national defense and full manpower utilization to promote 'scientific womanpower' from World War II through the Cold War. Puaca demonstrates how in an era and in professions hostile to gender inclusivity, women such as Virginia Gildersleeve and later Mary Ingraham Bunting energetically worked to expand the token number of women in math, science, and engineering. . . . Her narrative has special resonance in our current era of slashed research budgets when gains of earlier activists can no longer be taken for granted.—Jane Sherron DeHart, University of California, Santa Barbara



By covering such a wide chronological scope—1940 to 1980—Puaca traces technocratic feminism into eras such as the 1970s where other historians have found its impact to be less obvious. Doing so allows her to make important contributions to both the history of feminism and the history of scientific development.—Linda Eisenmann, Wheaton College



Guided by feminist and antiracist perspectives, this series examines the construction and influence of gender and sexuality within the full range of America's cultures. Investigating in deep context the ways in which gender works with and against such markers as race, class, and region, the series presents outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship, including works in history, literary studies, religion, folklore, and the visual arts. In so doing, Gender and American Culture seeks to reveal how identity and community are shaped by gender and sexuality.

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