RaceSci
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RaceSci

 

Gender and Race in the Social Studies of Science
Graduate Seminar, Spring 1998


Professor Anne Fausto-Sterling
Dept. of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island 02912
Office: 401-863-2109
FAX: 401-863-2421
Email: Anne_Fausto-Sterling@brown.edu

Professor Evelynn M. Hammonds
Program in Science, Technology, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge MA 02139
Office: 671-253-8780
FAX: 617-258-8634
EMAIL: eveham@mit.edu

Course Description

Events taking place in science and engineering laboratories
and the policy decisions that accompany them affect women's
daily lives in more ways than we can begin to fathom. (The
recent controversy about air-bags is a good example.
Engineers designed the bags to work with a
"standard" 5'9", 160-pound male, and policy
makers approved this as a safety standard; yet it has led to
the death of women and children.) It is not surprising,
then, that in the past fifteen years feminists have extended
their analyses to include science. Beyond the "famous
women" approach, scholars using approaches from diverse
fields--history, philosophy, anthropology, and the sciences
themselves have analyzed the impact of gender and, to a
lesser extent race, on the production of scientific
knowledge. In a parallel moment, non-feminist scholars from
the history of science, philosophy of science, and sociology
of science have created a challenging and fascinating body
of work analyzing the workings of science and the social
nature of the construction of scientific knowledge. Their
work, in conjunction with that of feminist analysts of
science, is at the center of the burgeoning field of the
social studies of science. This course examines recent
scholarship on the role of gender and race in the social
studies of science drawing from the fields of biology,
anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and history. We will
use works both by feminists and by more traditionalist
scholars to elaborate on an emerging synthesis.


We have divided this 12-week course in the following way: in
each section we will emphasize the problems of analyzing
race, gender, and class in the field of science studies.

Weeks 1-3: Science Studies Theory
In this section we examine key works and controversies in
the field of science studies, including an overview of
feminist critiques of science.

Weeks 4-7: Science/Gender -- Gender/Science
In this section of the course we will examine obverse
questions: How have scientists, historians, social
scientists, and philosophers constructed gender difference
and how has the existence of gender difference influenced
the construction of scientific knowledge?

Week 8: 18th and 19th Century Racial Categories
In this section we examine the historical development of
contemporary racial categories-- knowledge needed for the
material to be considered in Week 9.

Week 9: The Race/Gender Connection
There is a certain tendency to emphasize the parallels
between race and gender in the epistemology of knowledge.
Here we will examine both the strengths and weaknesses of
such an approach.

Weeks 10-12: Science/Race-- Race/Science
In this section of the course we will examine obverse
questions: How have scientists constructed racial difference
and how has the existence of racial difference influenced
the construction of scientific knowledge? How does class
figure in scientific discussions of race and gender?


Course Prerequisites

In teaching this course we would like to assume that
students have already read: Evelyn Fox Keller's
Reflections on Gender and Science,Sandra Harding's
The Science Question in Feminism,Emily Martin's
The Woman in the Body,Margaret Rossiter's Women
Scientists in Americaand Kenneth Manning's Black
Apollo of Science.However, we will do a short overview
of this material during the first three weeks of the course.
We also expect that students will have some background in
feminist theory. It would also help if students have had an
introductory level course in biology (barring that,
willingness to read an introductory biology text and the
science page of the New York Timesas well as the news
sections of the journals Scienceand Naturewill
be essential).


Required Texts

(available on order from New Words bookstore ph. 876-5310)

Donna Haraway, Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature
  in the World of Modern Science.  New York:
  Routledge, 1989. 
Sandra Harding, ed., The "Racial" Economy of
  Science: Toward a Democratic Future. Indiana Univ.
  Press, 1993.


Course materials

A seminar reader (photocopied course packet) will be
available for purchase from the textbook floor at the
Harvard Coop. Also, as they are available, required and
optional readings also will be on reserve at the bell desk
of the Cronkhite Graduate Center, Radcliffe.


Written Assignments

Students will submit three short (five pages) papers (one
per four-week course segment). These short papers will be
designed around an assigned question or set of questions.
Students must also write a research paper of 15 pages in
length. In preparation for this assignment students are
required to submit a proposal and preliminary bibliography
by the end of the week 5 of the class. We strongly urge, but
leave optional, the submission of a rough draft no later
than week 9 of class. The final draft is due the last day of
class.


Class Time

Each class will open with a short introductory lecture by
one of the instructors. The lecture will be followed by a
discussion of the required reading for each session. Reports
on selections from the optional readings will be given by
students in each class which can be used as the basis for
the short written assignments.


WEEKLY READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS 

Week 1: Science Studies Theory
January 27

Sharon Traweek, "An Introduction to Cultural and Social
  Studies of Science and Technology," in Culture,
  Medicine and Psychiatry 17 (1993), 3-25. 
Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science.
  1985. pp. 43-65.
Sandra Harding, The Science Question in Feminism.
  1986. pp. 136-62. 
Joseph Rouse, "Feminism and the Social Construction of
  Scientific Knowledge," in  Lynn H. Nelson and J.
  Nelson eds., Feminism, Science, and The Philosophy of
  Science.  Dordecht: Kluwer Academic Pub., 1996. pp.
  195-215.

Optional
Helen Longino and Evelynn Hammonds, "Conflicts and
  Tensions in the Feminist Study of Gender and
  Science," in E. F. Keller and M. Hirsch,
  Conflicts in Feminism. 1990.  pp. 164-84.
Barry Barnes, "Sociological Theories and
  Scientific Knowledge," in R. C. Olby, et al,
  eds, Companion to the History of Modern
  Science. 1990. pp. 60-73. 
Joseph Rouse, "What are the Cultural Studies of
  Scientific Knowledge?" Configurations 1
  (1992), 1-22. 
Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science,
  pp. 139-49. 

Questions
How do these scholars define "science" and
"culture"? Critics have charged that science
studies promotes "relativism." How do Rouse and
Traweek address that charge?


Week 2: Gender and Science Studies I
February 3

Sara Delamont, "Three Blind Spots? A Comment on the
  Sociology of Science by a Puzzled Outsider," in
  Social Studies of Science 17 (1987), 163-70. 
Eveleen Richards and John Schuster, "The Feminine
  Method as Myth and Accounting Resource: A Challenge to
  Gender Studies and Social Studies of Science," and
  responses from Evelyn Fox Keller and rebuttal by
  Richards and Schuster in Social Studies of Science
  19 (1989), 697-729. 
Donna Haraway, "Situated Knowledges: The Science
  Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial
  Perspective," in  Simians, Cyborgs, and
  Women.  New York: Routledge, 1991.  pp. 183-202.

Optional
Hilary Rose, "Gendered Reflexions on the Laboratory in
  Medicine," in A. Cunningham and P. Williams, eds.
  The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine. Cambridge
  Univ. Press, 1992.  pp. 324- 42.

Questions
What are the methodological problems involved in revealing
the gendered nature of science within science studies?


Week 3: Gender and Science Studies II
February 10

Bruno Latour, Science in Action, pp. 1-62, 179-256.
Bruno Latour, "Did Ramses II die of Tuberculosis? On
  the partial existence of existing and non-exisiting
  Objects," in L. Daston and J. Renn, The Coming
  into Being and the Passing Away of Scientific
  Objects.  Forthcoming from Univ. of Chicago Press.

Optional
David Berreby, "That Damned Elusive Bruno Latour,"
  in Lingua Franca, Sept/Oct 1994, 22- 78. 
Martin, Emily. "Citadels, Rhizomes and String
  figures" in Stanley Aronowitz et al., eds.
  Technoscience and Cyberculture.New York:
  Routledge, 1996. 
Donna Haraway, Critique of Latour's, "We Have Never
  Been Modern."  Talk given at SSSS Meetings, New
  Orleans, 1994. Used with permission.

Questions
Do a gender analysis of a section of Latour's book. In your
analysis try to assess how a gender-blind approach furthers
his central arguments.


Week 4: Biologists Critique Biology
February 17

Evelyn Fox Keller, Secrets of Life, Secrets of Death.
  1992.  pp.113-43. 
Donna Haraway, Primate Visions.  1989. pp. 316-30,
  349-67. 
Meredith Small. Female Choices. 1993. pp. 117-49.

Optional
Ruth Bleier, Science and Gender. 1984. pp. 49-109.
Bonnie Spanier, Im/Partial Science.  1995. pp. 55-65.
Ruth Hubbard, The Politics of Women's Biology.  1990.
  pp. 87-106. 
Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender.  1992.  pp.
  223-70. 
Lynda Birke, Women, Feminism, and Biology. 1986. pp.
  83-106.

Questions
All the authors for this week are biologists or biological
anthropologists. What is the nature of the critiques of
biology and science that they offer? Does each author share
the same critical approach? Has their training as scientists
marked their critiques in same fashion? If you think their
approaches differ, how would you subdivide them? Why do you
think they might differ?


Week 5: The Social Scientists
February 24

Due: Research paper proposal and preliminary bibliography


Alison Wylie, "The Engendering of Archeology:
  Refiguring Feminist Science Studies," in
  Osiris 12 (1997), 80-99. 
Sharon Traweek, Beamtimes and Lifetimes: The World of
  High Energy Physicists. 1988. pp. 1-45, 74-105.

Optional
Sharon Traweek, "Border Crossings: Narrative Strategies
  in Science Studies and Among Physicists in Tsukuba
  Science City, Japan," in A. Pickering ed.
  Science as Practice and Culture. 1992. pp. 429-65. 
Hilary Rose, Love, Power, Knowledge. 1994. pp. 71-96.
Emily Martin, Flexible Bodies. 1994. pp. 21-112 and
  227-50.

Questions
All the authors for this week are sociologists,
anthropologists, or archeologists (the latter usually sits
uncomfortably next to the former in a hybrid entity called a
Department of Anthropology). What is the nature of the
critiques of science that they offer? Does each author share
the same critical approach? How has their training as social
scientists marked their critiques of science? If you think
their approaches differ how would you subdivide them? Why do
you think they differ? How do their critiques compare
methodologically and theoretically with those of the
biologists?


Week 6: The Historians
March 3

Mid-term evaluations


Londa Schiebinger, Nature's Body.  1993. pp. 40-74.
Ludmilla Jordanova, Sexual Visions. 1989. pp. 19-42.
Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science. 1989. pp.
  78-103. 
Donna Haraway, Primate Visions.  pp. 26-58.

Optional
Joan W. Scott, "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical
  Analysis," in J. W. Scott, Gender and the
  Politics of History. 1988. pp.28-52. 
Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature. 1980. pp. 1-68. 
Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science.
  1985. pp. 33-42.

Question
How does the historical study of gender differ from those of
the social scientists and biologists?


Week 7: The Philosophers
March 10

Elizabeth Potter, "Modelling the Gender Politics in
  Science" in N. Tuana, ed. Feminism and
  Science. pp. 132-146. 
Helen Longino, Science As Social Knowledge.  1990.
  pp. 133-61. 
Sandra Harding, Whose Science, Whose Knowledge? 1991.
  pp. 218-48. 
Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature.
  1993. pp. 41-68.

Optional
Sandra Harding, "Is Science Multicultural?" 1995.
  Used with permission. 
Bina Agarwal, "Gendering the Environmental
  Debate." 1991. 
Vandana Shiva, "Colonialism and the Evolution of
  Masculinist Forestry" in The Racial Economy of
  Science. pp. 303-14. 

Questions
Adding the philosophers we directly approach the question of
epistemology. The same set of questions apply. How do the
authors agree or disagree with each other? How much of the
disagreement is disciplinary, how much political? Do the
different positions taken by the philosophers and those in
other disciplines lend themselves to particular political
actions, or get in the way of same? To what degree do
individual, political beliefs affect the epistemological
approaches we accept or espouse?


Week 8: 18th and 19th Century Racial Categories
March 17

Nicholas Hudson, "From 'Nation' to 'Race:' The Origin
  of Racial Classification" in Eighteenth Century
  Studies 29:3 (1996), 247-64. 
Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Gender, Race, and Nation: The
  Comparative Anatomy of 'Hottentot' Women in Europe,
  1815-1817," in J. Terry and J. Urla, eds.
  Deviant Bodies. 1995. pp. 19-48. 
Stephen J. Gould, "American Polygeny and Craniometry
  Before Darwin: Blacks and Indians as Separate, Inferior
  Species," in Harding, Racial Economy of
  Science. pp. 84-115. 

Optional
Nancy Stepan, The Idea of Race in Science.  1982.
  Chapters 3 and 4 on Darwin and Rise of Physical
  Anthroplogy. 
George W. Stocking, Jr., Race, Culture, and Evolution:
  Essays in the History of Anthroplogy. 1968. 
  Selections.

Questions
Is the concept of "race" the same in each of these
author's article? What aspects of their notion of race
would you describe as scientific? Which are descriptions of
cultural and social notions of race? Is it possible to
separate the social/cultural from the scientific?


March 24: No class--Spring Break


Week 9: Race and Gender
March 31

Rough draft of final research paper due (optional)


Nancy Stepan, "Race and Gender: the Role of Analogy in
  Science" in Harding, Racial Economy of
  Science. pp. 359-76. 
Londa Schiebinger, "The Anatomy of Difference: Race and
  Sex in 18th century Science," in Eighteenth
  Century Studies, 23:4 (Summer, 1990). 
Cynthia Eagle Russett, Chapter 2, "Up and Down the
  Phyletic Ladder," in Sexual Science: The
  Victorian Construction of Womanhood. 1989. pp.49-77.

Questions
Describe the metaphors at play in the Russett chapter. If
analogical reasoning evoked a sceince of differences as
Stepan claims, then how would we describe a science of human
similarities?


Week 10: Early 20th Century
April 7

Diane Paul, Chapters 2, 4 and 6 in Controlling Human
  Heredity: 1865 to the Present. 1995.  pp. 22-39,
  50-71, 97-114. 
Robyn Wiegman, "Sexing the Difference," in
  American Anatomies: Theorizing Race and Gender. 
  1995.  pp. 43-80. 
Lee D. Baker, "The Location of  Franz Boas Within the
  African-American Struggle," Critique of
  Anthropology 14:2 (1994), 199-217.

Optional
Gunnar Myrdal, Biology Chapter in An American Dilemma:
  The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. New York,
  1944. 
W. E. B. DuBois, The Health and Physique of the Negro
  American. 1906. 
Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish, "The Races of
  Mankind," Public Affairs Pamphlet No. 85, 1946. 
Franz Boas, "New Evidence in Regard to the Instability
  of Human Types" (1916) and "Some Criticisms of
  Physical Anthropology," (1899) in Race,
  Language,  and Culture. 1940. pp. 76-85 and 165-71.

Questions
How do these authors address the question of race as
"fact" of the body? How dependent are their
notions of race on the visual markings of bodies? Is the
visual fact of race undermined by new scientific facts about
race? Are DuBois' or Benedict's arguments persuasive? How
are scientific facts of racial difference constructed out of
popular notions of race in Anderson?


Week 11: The Retreat from Race and Racism
April 14

Elazar Barkan, Part III and Epilogue in The Retreat of
  Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race Between the
  World Wars. 1992. 
Frank Livingstone, "On the Nonexistence of Human
  Races" in Harding, The "Racial"
  Economy of Science, pp. 133-41. 
Gloria Marshall, "Racial Classifications: Popular and
  Scientific" in Harding, The "Racial"
  Economy of Science, pp. 116-27. 
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, "African-American Women's
  History and the Metalanguage of Race," in
  Signs 17 (Winter 1992), 251-74.

Optional
David Theo Goldberg, "Chapter 4: The masks of
  race" in Racist Culture: Philosophy and the
  Politics of Meaning.  1993. 

Questions
Is the retreat from racism the same as a retreat from race
as a viable scientific concept in these essays? Does
Higginbotham's metalanguage of race have a parallel in the
scientific writings? Where is gender in these articles?


Week 12: The End of Race?
April 21

Faye V. Harrison, "The Persistent Power of 'Race' in
  the Cultural and Political Economy of Racism," in
  Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (1995), 47-74. 
Alan H. Goodman, "The Problematics of 'Race' in
  Contemporary Biological Anthropology" in N.T. Boaz
  and L. Wolfe, eds. Biological Anthropology: The State
  of the Science. Oregon: International Institute for
  Human Evolutionary Research, 1995.  pp. 215-39. 
Richard Lewontin, "Of Genes and Genitals,"
  Transition 69 6:1 (1996), 178-93. 
Donna Haraway, "Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture:
It's All in the Family: Biological Kinship Categories in the
  Twentieth Century United States" in William Cronon,
  ed., Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature. 
  New York: W. W. Norton, 1995. pp. 321-78. 

Optional
Lawrence Wright, "One Drop of Blood," in New
  Yorker, July 25, 1994, 46-55. 
Peggy Pascoe, "Miscegenation Law, Court Cases and
  Ideologies of 'Race' in Twentieth Century America,"
  in  The Journal of American History 83:1, 44-69.

Questions:
Are neo-race discourses in anthropology less dependent on
biology than theories from the pre-World War II period? Or
is there a new relationship being expressed between biology
and culture? How do Haraway and Pascoe see the effects of
biological notions of kinship? Are anxieties about
miscegenation an assertion of biological kinship or a denial
of it?


Week 13
April 28

Course evaluations will be given during the first half of
class. Final projects are due.

Please provide two copies. If you want the graded papers
mailed to you, include a self-addresses stamped envelope;
otherwise, please pick them up in the Coordinator's office
after grades have been turned in.
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