Week 9 & 10 Paper Topics (Groups A & B)

Submitted by bowcuttf on Mon, 02/18/2008 - 8:20pm.
1. Using one or more biographies developed in The Mind Has No Sex?, present evidence for and against the dualisms listed on page 234.

2. Compare and contrast Merchant’s and Schiebinger’s approach to integrating gender into their scholarship. Why might these approaches be critical to a more complete understanding of the history of science during the early modern era?

3. As presented by Schiebinger, what were the constraints during the early modern era that limited women’s participation in science? Dorothea Erxleben said she “feared recrimination from all sides” (251). Thiroux d’Archonville worked anonymously at home on her scientific endeavors because, “[s]he believed that intellectual women garner only ridicule; if their work is good, they are ignored; if it is bad, they are hissed at” (250). How might these exceptional women and others “prove the rules” of exclusion?

4. In an attempt to discredit Aristotelian philosophy, Francis Bacon called it effeminate. Rooted in theories of complementarity and essentialism, in Bacon’s eyes, the sciences of the ancients were “passive, weak, expectant” (137). Using Schiebinger for evidence, discuss the ways men supportive of a more democratic practice of science worked to undermine Francis Bacon’s vision of an “active, virile and generative” masculine science rooted in the experimental approach?