Feminist Science Studies: Questions of Necessity

Hillary G's picture

               I am admittedly kind of divided on the subject of feminist science studies. On the one hand, I love the idea of combining the sciences and the humanities (as I have been trying to figure out a career path that combines the two). There is definitely a place in the sciences for an examination of women’s role in developing the scientific field. We have been kept out of the highest positions in science for too long, and I admire those who are fighting to change that reality.

               But it makes me wonder whether it’s entirely necessary to have an academic field surrounding such a specific, narrow problem. I think gender studies and science are both important aspects of the academic spectrum, but combining them seems almost unnecessary. For a subject that initially appears to be aimed toward breaking boundaries, it has an incredibly distinct goal and motivation that seems more rooted in women’s rights than it does in science.  

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spreston's picture

Re: Feminist Science Studies: Questions of Necessity

Hey hillary,

I am glad you brought this up!  Like you, I feel really divided about whether feminist science studies is a necessary field.  While I think it's great to try to break down the boundaries between women and science, I think that has happened on its own to a large extent in the last 50 years.  Even among my friends, I think more of my guy friends are majoring in the humanities than my girl friends.  Sometime with gender studies, I feel like the effort to break down boundaries only points out and iterates those boundaries.  If the boundary that stood between women and science is already dissolving, why risk stirring up a controversy that points out those boundaries again? 

Also, I agree with you about the discipline seeming to be rooted more in women's rights than in science. Although I was really interested in the Subramanium piece and agreed with a lot of her points, I also thought that applying a feminist views to some parts of science was a stretch.  For me, gender studies are applicable to many areas of life, but not EVERY area.  So when she tried to look through a gender studies lens at certain areas of science, I felt skeptical of whether that was really helpful or not.  This is not to say I don't see merit in the field, because many of her points were intriguing and if I had a better understanding of feminist science studies outside of our few readings, I might have a totally different opinion.

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