General Studies 224
Gender and Science:
Re-envisioning & Revising the Relation

Newton by William Blake

Bryn Mawr College
Spring 2007

Mondays, Wednesdays
10-11:30, Dalton One

Anne Dalke (
and Elizabeth McCormack

A Man-Midwife

Photo Gallery of Student Performances
Liz Newbury, "The Story of an X"
Flora Shepherd, Presentation

Course Forum

Web Papers

Class Roster

In this course, we'll be asking questions about the role of women in the scientific enterprise, about the contemporary feminist critique of scientific practice, and about what both suggest for science education of everyone. Is the face of science changing, as more women are becoming professionally involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? Does effective participation in world citizenship require the engagement, not just of professionals, but of all people with the processes and outcomes of scientific inquiry? Might expanding such involvement mean altering the way science is done? What role might classes women's colleges like Bryn Mawr play in such transformations?

Using the field of physics as exemplar, and contemporary novels and films as imaginative test cases, we will
Universities Statistics

"Playing with Categories"

Course Requirements:
Regular, on-going reflection on assigned readings
Bi-weekly attendance and participation in class
Weekly postings on the world-wide web
Three 5-pp. papers, chosen from 4 due dates Instructions for Preparing and Posting Your Papers
Final performance (4/29-5/2)
10 pp. project ( 5/18)
Portfolio and Self-Evaluation

Course Resources:
Course packet available for sale on January 24

Goldstein, Rebecca. Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Pyncheon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49. 1965; rpt. New York: Perennial Classics, 1999.

Tobias, Sheila. They're Not Dumb, They're Different: Stalking the Second Tier. Tucson, AZ: Research Corporation, 1990.

I. Introduction

M, Jan. 22 Some "Experiences" of Being Women, Doing Science

Contact. (Videorecording.) Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Warner Brothers, 1997. 150 minutes.

W, Jan. 24 Summers, Larry. Remarks at NBER Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce. January 14, 2005.

Cahill, Larry. "His Brain, Her Brain." Scientific American. April 25, 2005.

Dean, Cornelia. "Evelyn Fox Keller: Scientist at Work. Theorist Drawn Into Debate 'That Will Not Go Away.'" The New York Times. April 12, 2005. F2.

Donadio, Rachel. "The Tempest in the Ivory Tower." The New York Times Book Review. March 27, 2005. 12-13.

Albano, Al, Amy Bug and Anne Dalke. What's New in Gender and Science? Brown Bag Discussion. Center for Science in Society. Bryn Mawr College. April 29, 2005.

The Science of Gender and Science. Pinker Vs. Spelke. A Debate. Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative. Harvard University. April 22, 2005. Rpted. Edge: The Third Culture.
M, Jan. 29 What Has Science Been? What is Physics Now? Kosso, Peter. Introduction, Chapters 1-2 & 8. Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics. New York: Oxford, 1998. 1-30, 177-186.

Lukacs, John. "Heisenberg's Recognitions: The End of the Scientific World View." 1994. Rpt. The Gender and Science Reader. Ed. Muriel Lederman and Ingrid Bartsch. New York: Routledge, 2001. 225-230.

W, Jan. 31 What Does Feminism Have to Offer? Barad, Karen. "Meeting the Universe Halfway: Realism and Social Constructivism Without Contradiction." Feminism, Science, and the Philosophy of Science. Ed. L.H. Nelson and J. Nelson. London: Kluwer Academic, 1996. 161-194.

Bug, Amy. "Gender and Physical Science: A Hard Look at a Hard Science." Women Succeeding in the Sciences: Theories and Practices across Disciplines. Ed. Jody Bart. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2000. 221-244.

F, Feb. 2 First Paper Due:
based on our discussions of the past three weeks,
write a delayed response to the "Larry Summers tempest,"
in the form of a 5-pp. article for
The New York Science Times.

Science and Engineering Indicators-1993

Doctorates Awarded by Gender and Year

II. Making Women Scientists

M, Feb. 5 Who Are They?
Statistics: A day of data-mining

Thom, Mary. Part 3: Academia--Graduate School and Beyond. Balancing the Equation: Where Are Women and Girls in Science, Engineering and Technology? New York: National Council for Research on Women. 2001. 66-83.

Sonnert, Gerhard and Gerald Holton. "Career Patterns of Women and Men in the Sciences." American Scientist. 84 (1996): 63-71.

Ivie, Rachel and Stacy Guo. "Women Physicists Speak Again." AIP R-441. April 2006. 1-20.

W, Feb. 7 Stories: Women Negotiating the Culture of Physics Jones, L.M. "Intellectual Contributions of Women to Physics." Women of Science. 188-214.

Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics

Introducing Additional Resources for the Salon:
McGrayne, Sharon Bertsch. Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries. 1993; rpt. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 1998.

MacArthur Fellows

American Physical Society MGM Award Winners

Bryn Mawr Alumanae
M, Feb. 12 Traweek, Sharon. Prologue and "Pilgrim's Progress: Male Tales Told During a Life in Physics" and "Cultural Differences in High-Energy Physics." Beamtimes and Lifetimes: The World of High Energy Physicists. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988. 1-17, 74-105, 398-407.

Wertheim, Margaret. Introduction. "God, Women and the New Physics." "The Ascent of Mathematical Woman." Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars. New York, Random House, 1995. 3-16, 127-150, 223-252.

W, Feb. 14 A Salon of post-World War II women physicists and astronomers: What motivated you to chose science?
What obstacles did you encounter?
What enabled your success?
What advice do you have for current women students?
(Speaking as a student:) why did you chose to channel this woman?

M, Feb. 19 What Has Teaching Women Taught us About Science Pedagogy? Burciaga, Juan and Barbara Whitten. "Feminist and Multicultural Pedagogy in Physics." Women's Studies Quarterly 2000, 1&2. 213-235.

Tobias, Sheila. They're Not Dumb, They're Different: Stalking the Second Tier. Tucson, AZ: Research Corporation, 1990.

W, Feb. 21 Wilson, Robin. "A Hothouse for Female Scientists." The Chronicle of Higher Education. May 5, 2006.

Dar-Nimrod, Ilan and Steven J. Heine. "Exposure to Scientific Theories Affects Women's Math Performance." Science 314 (October 20, 2006).

Clinchy, Blythe McVicker. "Connected and Separate Knowing: Toward a Marriage of Two Minds." Knowledge, Difference, and Power: Essays Inspired by Women's Ways of Knowing. Ed. Nancy Goldberger, Jill Tarule, Blyte Clinchy and Mary Belenky. New York: Basic Books, 1996. 205-242.

"I've got an idea!"

Emily Noether

Second Paper Due by 5 p.m. Mon, Feb. 26: frame the issues and describe some responses to the ways in which women scientists are made.

III. Feminism Critiquing Science

M, Feb. 26
Grosz, Elizabeth. "Bodies and Knowledges: Feminism and the Crisis of Reason." Feminist Epistemologies. Ed. Linda Alcoff and Elizabeth Potter. New York: Routledge, 1993. 187-215.

Harding, Sandra. "Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What is 'Strong Objectivity?' Feminist Epistemologies. 49-82.

W, Feb. 28 Keller, Evelyn Fox and Christine Grontkowski. "The Mind's Eye." Feminism and Science. Ed. Evelyn Fox Keller and Helen Longino. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 187-202.

Harraway, Donna. "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective." Feminism and Science. 249-263.

Kuletz, Valerie. "Nature and the Nuclear Landscape. Feminist Science Studies: Objectivity, and the Politics of Vision." Feminist Science Studies: A New Generation. Ed. Maralee Mayberry, Banu Subramaniam and Lisa Weasel. New York: Routledge, 2001. 321-338.

M, Mar. 5 Keller, Evelyn Fox. "Cognitive Repression in Contemporary Physics." Reflections on Gender and Science. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985. 139-149.

Harding, Sandra. "Why 'Physics' Is a Bad Model for Physics." Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991. 77-102.

W, Mar. 7 Schiebinger, Londa. "Physics and Math." Has Feminism Changed Science? Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999. 159-179.

Shulman, Bonnie Jean."What If We Change Our Axioms? A Feminist Inquiry Into the Foundations of Mathematics." Configurations. 1996. 3: 427-451.

Spring Break March 9-18 (read a novel or two??)

M, Mar. 19 Barad, Karen. "A Feminist Approach to Teaching Quantum Physics." Teaching the Majority: Breaking the Gender Barrier in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. Ed. Sue Rosser. New York: Teachers College Press, 1995. 43-75.

Barad, Karen. "Scientific Literacy--> Agential Literacy= (Learning + Doing) Science Responsibly." Feminist Science Studies, ed. Mayberry et. al., 2001. 226-246.

W, Mar. 21 Ruskai, Mary Beth. "How Stereotypes About Science Affect The Participation of Women." Lecture in Symposium: "Women in Physics: Why So Few?" San Francisco: Annual Meeting. Association for Women in Science. 1989. 1-9.

"Frequently Asked Questions About Feminist Science Studies." Women and Scientific Literacy: Building Two-Way Streets. The Association of American Colleges and Universities. 1999. 1-19.

F, Mar. 23
Third Paper Due:
what use can you make of the feminist critique of science?

IV. Re-presenting Women and Science

M, Mar. 26
Dalke, Anne. Why Words Arise--and Wherefore: Literature and Literary Theory as Forms of Exploration. In circulation.

Grobstein, Paul. Revisiting Science in Culture: Science as Story Telling and Story Revising. Journal of Research Practice. 2005. 1, 1, M1.
W, Mar. 28 Guest Visit from Afsaneh Najmabadi, Professor of History and of Women's Studies at Harvard (whose initial BA and MA were in physics). Her most recent manuscript is "Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity" (forthcoming University of California Press); her newest project is "Genealogies of Iranian Feminism."

Najmabadi, Afsaneh. "Truth of Sex." January 12, 2005.
M, Apr. 2 Goldstein, Properties of Light W, Apr. 4 Properties of Light, continued.... M, Apr. 9 Visit to "Conceptual Physics," Physics Lecture Hall, Park 243 W, Apr. 11 A Selection of Contemporary Poems about Physics:
Awiatka, Marilou. "Old Students of the New Physics" (1994)
Fabian, Cosi. "On reading the new physics--Creation & Cosmology" (1999)
Hirshfield, Jane. "Empedocles' Physics" (1994)
McHugh, Heather. "A Physics" (1994)
Zolynas, Al. "The New Physics" (1979)

Stepan, Nancy Leys. "Race and Gender: The Role of Analogy in Science." The Racial Economy of Science: Toward A Democratic Future. Ed. Sandra Harding. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. 359-375.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. 1929; rpt. New York: Harvest/HBJ, 1981. 113-114.

S, Apr. 15, 7 p.m. SHARP ('til 8:40) viewing (with pizza) in Dalton One Teknolust. (DVD.) Dir. Lynn Hershman Leeson. Blue Turtle/Epiphany Entertainment/Hotwire Productions/ZDF. 2003. 100 minutes. M, Apr. 16 Discussion of Conceptual Physics W, Apr. 18 Discussion of Teknolust M, Apr. 23 Pyncheon, The Crying of Lot 49 W, Apr. 25 The Crying of Lot 49, continued... F, Apr. 27 Fourth Paper Due, on re-presenting women in science:
write a creative story exploring
what you've found important in our study so far.

Using lasers to create an ultralight,
space-based telescope

"Your brain is just taking all that information
and doing the best that it can with it."

VII. Finale(s)

SUN, Apr. 29, 5-7:30 p.m. viewing (with pizza, in Dalton One)
Alien. (Videorecording.) Dir. Ridley Scott. Twentieth Century Fox, 1979. 116 minutes. M, Apr. 30 Discussing Alien W, May 2 Performances:
What Have Been Your Insights?
What Are Your Questions?
How Might You Answer Them?

Final 10-pp. projects due, along with portfolios and self-evaluations: Noon, Friday, May 18

|Course Syllabus
|Program in Gender and Sexuality @ Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges
|Physics Department at Bryn Mawr College
|English Department at Bryn Mawr College
|Center for Science in Society at Bryn Mawr
|Other Undergraduate Courses on Serendip

Send us your comments at Serendip

© by Serendip 1994- - Last Modified: Saturday, 01-Sep-2007 17:54:50 EDT
This site is hosted by

Serendip Home