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Women, Science, and Technology is an ideal reader for courses in feminist science studies. This third edition fully updates its predecessor with a new introduction and twenty-eight new readings that explore social constructions mediated by technologies, expand the scope of feminist technoscience studies, and move beyond the nature/culture paradigm.
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Mary Wyer is Associate Professor of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at North Carolina State University
Mary Barbercheck is Professor of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University.
Donna Cookmeyer is a Chair on the Institutional Review Board and the Research Integrity Officer for the Duke School of Medicine.
Hatice Örün Öztürk is Teaching Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
Marta L. Wayne is Professor of Biology at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Read an Excerpt
Introduction: Science and FeminismSince the emergence of women's studies initiatives in academia in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been a steady stream of challenges to the received wisdom of the humanities and social sciences. By placing women at the center of analysis, by asking the simple question: "What about women?" researchers revealed the ways in which the grounding assumptions in a variety of disciplines excluded women. In the fields of literary studies, history, psychology, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology, the exclusion of women as subjects of study mattered. It mattered because the interesting questions, grounding assumptions, and accepted answers all changed once women were brought into the picture. The fields grew, in short, as a result of including women as subjects of study.
Many science and engineering fields have been untouched by these developments. There are several reasons for this: (1) Where the subject matter does not include any people, the absence of women as subjects of study may seem irrelevant. (2) In disciplines where there are few or no women in a position to promote change, there are few who have a vested interest in challenging the status quo. (3) Scientists and engineers do not usually have the training to consider the social dynamics that have shaped their fields, and so most assume that scientific perspectives are necessarily "objective" and outside the influence of these dynamics. (4) Most women's studies scholars come from the humanities and social sciences, so their work does not address or challenge issues in the physical, biological, or engineering sciences. (5) Whatever their discipline, faculty evaluations of their peers tend to reinforce disciplinary boundaries by demanding that research and teaching address discipline-specific questions. Those who focus on women's lives must cross these institutionally determined boundaries, leaving themselves vulnerable to criticism from colleagues and the institution.
This book is our attempt to begin breaching those boundaries to help ensure that readers have the knowledge and perspectives they need to participate fully in the research, teaching, and public-policy decision-making of the twenty-first century. To the extent that women continue to be second-class citizens socially, economically, and politically, the issue of our access to training and expertise in scientific and technological fields has renewed urgency in the face of the growing centrality of these fields in a global economy. The belief that scientific and feminist perspectives are incompatible contributes to a persistent ignorance about the importance of scientific and technological innovations in shaping the conditions of women's lives, the limitations of research and teaching that exclude women, and the talents and abilities of women in science and engineering. It is our goal to confront this ignorance.
The Scientific Method
We generally think of scientific perspectives as true, as factual. They are assumed to be perspectives untainted by political considerations. They produce reliable and complete knowledge that we can use with predictable results. In a world full of uncertainties, facts and truth lead us to clarity and understanding. In contrast, we often think of feminist perspectives in quite different terms. Feminist perspectives create knowledge that challenges what we take for granted to be true and factual. Feminist knowledge provokes change. It encourages us to ask new questions about how to understand the world around us. Feminists are often accused of being politically biased, of creating knowledge that is not purely "objective." What could these two perspectives-feminist and scientific-possibly have in common? We argue that they share many commitments, including an emphasis on understanding the social and physical worlds in which we live, and on striving toward more complete descriptions of those worlds.
What is science, exactly? What sets science apart from any other way to gather information or explain how something works? How do we differentiate between scientific knowledge and nonscientific knowledge? Everyone has some notion of what science is and what scientists do. If we were to watch a group of people working in a laboratory while they were dissecting animals and arguing about their data, and if we knew nothing of science, we might describe them naively like this:
Perhaps these animals are being processed for eating. Maybe we are witnessing oracular prophecy through the inspection of rat entrails. Perhaps the individuals spending hours discussing scribbled notes and figures are lawyers. Are the heated debates in front of the blackboard part of a gambling contest? Perhaps the occupants of the laboratory are hunters of some kind, who, after patiently lying in wait by a spectrograph for several hours, suddenly freeze like a gun dog fixed on a scent.
However, most of us have had some exposure to images of real or imagined scientists in television, movies, and advertising. Yet most scientists do not spend their days in the jungle searching for plants that cure cancer or jungle fever (as in the movie Medicine Man), genetically engineering dinosaurs (as in the movie Jurassic Park), or trying to communicate with extraterrestrial allies (as in the movie Contact). So what do ordinary scientists do that defines their activity as science? Most scientists would define science as an approach called the scientific method. The scientific method encompasses the procedures and principles regarded as necessary for scientific investigation and the production of scientific knowledge. The scientific method is actually quite simple in concept and is made up of the following steps:
1. Observations are made of objects or events, either natural or produced by experimentation. From these observations a falsifiable hypothesis is developed.
2. The hypothesis is tested by conducting repeatable experiments.
3. If the experiments refute the hypothesis, it is rejected, and new hypotheses are formulated.
4. Hypotheses that survive are condensed into generalized empirical relationships, or laws.
5. Laws are synthesized into larger theories that explain the nature of the empirical relationships and provide a conceptual framework for understanding how the natural world operates.
Ideally, then, the facts of nature are uncovered by a stepwise winnowing-out of inadequate hypotheses and refinement of the remaining hypotheses. The explanations or facts that remain are considered true until someone is able to falsify them using the scientific method. Therefore, ideally, scientists must be prepared to abandon or alter hypotheses, laws, and theories when new knowledge contradicts them. However, as readers will learn, science does not always proceed in this idealized way. The major questions in feminist analyses of science concern the degree to which the scientific method ensures that the knowledge produced is unbiased and untouched by the social or political commitments of the researchers...
Table of Contents
Women, Science, and Technology, third edition (2013)
Mary Wyer, Mary Barbercheck, Donna Giesman Cookmeyer, Hatice Örün Öztürk, and Marta Wayne
Introduction: Feminism, Science and Technology –Why It Still Matters
From Margins to Center: Educating Women for Scientific Careers
Moss-Racusin, Corinne A., Dovidio, John F., Brescoll, Victoria L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, Jo. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109, 1-6.
Subramaniam, Banu (2001). Snow Brown and the Seven Detergents: A metanarrative on science and the scientific method. In M. Wyer, M. Barbercheck, D. Geisman, H. Ozturk, & M. Wayne (Eds.), Women, Science, and Technology: A Feminist Reader (pp. 36-41). New York: Routledge.
Bilimoria, Diana, & Liang, Xiangfen (2012). State of knowledge about the workforce participation, equity, and inclusion of women in academic science and engineering. In D. Bilimoria & X. Liang (Eds.), Gender Equity in Science and Engineering (pp. 16-45). New York: Routledge.
Wayne, Marta (2000). Walking a tightrope: The feminist life of a drosophila biologist. NWSA Journal, 12, no. 3, 139-150.
Light, Jennifer (2009). When computers were women. In M. Layne (Ed.), Women in Engineering: Pioneers and Trailblazers (pp. 179-210). Reston, VA: American Society for Civil Engineers.
Mellström, Ulf (2009). The intersection of gender, race and cultural boundaries, or why is computer science in Malaysia dominated by women? Social Studies of Science, 39, 885-907.
Schiebinger, Londa (2011). Interdisciplinary approaches to achieving gendered innovations in science, medicine, and engineering. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 36, 154-167.
Rosser, Sue (2012). The gender gap in patents. In S. Rosser (Ed.), Breaking into the Lab: Engineering Progress for Women in Science (pp. 150-177). New York: New York University Press.
Feminist Approaches in/to Science and Technology
Cohn, Carol (1987). Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 12, no. 4, 687-718.
Maines, Rachel (1989). Socially camouflaged technologies: The case of the electromechanical vibrator. IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, June, 3-23.
Aengst, Jennifer & Layne, Linda L. (2010). The need to bleed? A feminist technology assessment of menstrual-suppressing birth control pills. In L. Layne (Ed.), Feminist Technology (pp. 55-88). Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Jordan-Young, Rebecca M. & Rumiati, Raffaella I. (2012). Hardwired for sexism? Approaches to sex/gender in neuroscience. In R. Bluhm, A. J. Jacobson, & H. L. Maibom (Eds.), Neurofeminism: Issues at the intersection of feminist theory and cognitive science (pp. 105-120). Basingstoke, Hampshire, GBR: Palgrave Macmillan.
Milam, Erika L. (2012). Making males aggressive and females coy: Gender across the animal-human boundary. SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 37, 935-959.
Roy, Deboleena (2008). Asking different questions: Feminist practices for the natural sciences. Hypatia, 23, 134-157.
Takeshita, Chikako (2011). "Keep life simple": Body/technology relationships in racialized global contexts. In C. Takeshita (Ed.), The global biopolitics of the IUD: How science constructs contraceptive users and women’s bodies (pp.137-162). Boston: MIT Press.
Technologies of Sex, Gender, and Difference
Hubbard, Ruth (2003). Science, power, gender: How DNA became the book of life. SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28, 791-799.
Fausto-Sterling, Anne (2005). The bare bones of sex: Part 1—Sex and gender." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30, no. 2, 1491-1527.
Bhatia, Rajani (2010). Constructing gender from the inside out: Sex-selection practices in the United States. Feminist Studies, 36, 260-292.
Roberts, Dorothy E. (2009). Race, gender, and genetic technologies: A new reproductive dystopia? SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 34, 783-804.
Richardson, Sarah S. (2012). Sexing the X: How the X became the "female chromosome." SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 37, 909-933.
Daniels, Jesse (2009). Rethinking cyberfeminism(s): Race, gender, and embodiment. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 37, 101-124.
Bray, Francesca (2007). Gender and technology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 36, 37-53.
Landström, Catharina (2007). Queering feminist technology studies. Feminist Theory, 8, 7-26.
Nordqvist, Petra (2008). Feminist heterosexual imaginaries of reproduction: Lesbian conception in feminist studies of reproductive technologies. Feminist Theory, 9, 273-292.
Waldby, Catherine & Cooper, Melinda. (2010). From reproductive work to regenerative labor: The female body and the stem cell industries. Feminist Theory, 11, 3-22.
Harding, Sandra (2011). Beyond postcolonial theory: Two undertheorized perspectives on science and technology. In S. Harding (Ed.), The Postcolonial Science and Technology Reader (pp. 1-31). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Theoretical Horizons in Feminist Technoscience Studies
Haraway, Donna (1991). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. In D. Haraway (Ed.), Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (pp. 183-201). New York: Routledge.
Barad, Karen (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28, 801-831.
Birke, Lynda, Bryld, Mette, & Lykke, Nina (2004). Animal performances: An exploration of intersections between feminist science studies and studies of human/animal relationships. Feminist Theory, 5, 167-183.
Fujimura, Joan (2006). Sex genes: A critical sociomaterial approach to the politics and molecular genetics of sex determination. SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 32, 49-82.
Ahmed, Sara (2008). Open forum imaginary prohibitions: Some preliminary remarks on the founding gestures of the "new materialism." European Journal of Women’s Studies, 15, 23-39.
Weber, Jutta (2006). From science and technology to feminist technoscience. In K. Davis, M. S. Evans, & J. Lorber (Eds.), Handbook of Gender and Women’s Studies (pp. 397-414). London: SAGE.
Moore, Niamh (2011). Eco/feminism and rewriting the ending of feminism: From the Chipko movement to Clayoquot Sound. Feminist Theory, 12, 3-21.