PSCI 239 Science, Gender and Power

Last offered Spring 2013

Cross Listed as WGSS238
This course considers debates in feminism about the relationship between science, gender and power in politics. On the one hand, shifting ideas about gender have influenced the development of the sciences through history: for example, some feminists argue that science has historically been premised upon a view of women as objects, not subjects, of knowledge. On the other hand, shifting ideas about science have strongly influenced the development of feminist theory and practice: for example, debates about reproductive rights are often couched in terms of a conflict between reliable scientific knowledge of embryos, STDs, etc. and an unscientific, patriarchal worldview. Do science and technology serve to transform or reinforce power imbalances based on gender, race, and sexuality? Should feminist theory embrace objectivity and model itself upon scientific procedures of knowledge production? Or should feminists reject objectivity as a myth told by the powerful about their own knowledge-claims and develop an alternative approach to knowledge? What is "objectivity" anyway, and how has this norm changed through history? What kinds of alternatives to objectivity exist, and should they, too, count as "science"? Rather than treating science as a monolith, we will endeavor to understand the implications of various sciences--as practiced and envisioned in various, historically specific situations--for gender and politics. Readings may include texts by Rene Descartes, Andreas Vesalius, Londa Schiebinger, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Helen Longino, Nancy Harstock, Sandra Harding, bell hooks, Donna Haraway, Mary Hawkesworth, and Octavia Butler.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: three 5- to 7-page papers and class participation
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Political Science majors and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: PSCI Political Theory Courses,WGSS Feminist Theory Courses
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 21
Class Number: 3652
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
PSCI 239 SEM Science, Gender and Power Division 2: Social Studies Laura D. Ephraim
PSCI 239 SEM Science, Gender and Power Division 2: Social Studies Laura D. Ephraim
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