Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science

Front Cover
Rutgers University Press, 1993 - Medical - 289 pages
7 Reviews
Winner of the Ludwik Fleck Book Prize, Society for Social Studies of Science, 1995

"Schiebinger lays bare the cultural narratives that mix so easily with science. They are at the same time hilarious and eerie, silly and profoundly disturbing. Schiebinger is brilliant in showing how tales of gender and race are told in other guises."--Thomas Laqueur, author of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud

"[Nature's Body] is so wonderfully humorous and is done with such careful attention to detail, the reader cannot help but see the profound implications of the history of science for modern science. Indispensable for all anthropologists, historians, philosophers, and practitioners of science."--Emily Martin, author of The Woman in the Body

Eighteenth-century natural historians created a peculiar, and peculiarly durable, vision of nature--one that embodied the sexual and racial tensions of that era. When plants were found to reproduce sexually, eighteenth-century botanists ascribed to them passionate relations, polyandrous marriages, and suicidal incest, and accounts of steamy plant sex began to infiltrate the botanical literature of the day. Naturalists also turned their attention to the great apes just becoming known to eighteenth-century Europeans, clothing the females in silk vestments and training them to sip tea with the modest demeanor of English matrons, while imagining the males of the species fully capable of ravishing women.

Written with humor and meticulous detail, Nature's Body draws on these and other examples to uncover the ways in which assumptions about gender, sex, and race have shaped scientific explanations of nature. Schiebinger offers a rich cultural history of science and a timely and passionate argument that science must be restructured in order to get it right.

  

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Review: Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science

User Review  - Leah - Goodreads

An insightful look into how notions of gender and race shaped historical scientific taxonomy and practice. It's a bit of a scattered read, and whiny sorts who don't have the stomach for some gender ... Read full review

Review: Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science

User Review  - Laura - Goodreads

Thanks gender and science class. Read full review

Contents

The Private Lives of Plants
11
The Search for New Methods of Classification
13
Plant Heterosexuality
18
The Use of Metaphor in Science
23
Linnaeus and the Botanic Reveries of Erasmus Darwin
28
The Scientific Revolution in Views of Sexual Difference
37
Why Mammals Are Called Mammals
40
Mammalia The Genealogy of a Term
42
The Anatomy of Difference
115
Fixing Racial and Sexual Types
117
That Majestic Beard
120
The Caucasian Mystery
126
Do Women Shape the Race?
134
Theories of Gender and Race
143
Were Women on the Chain?
145
The Hottentot Venus
160

Males and Monotremes
47
How Significant Are the Mammae?
51
Problematic Icons
53
Gender Politics in Taxonomy
65
The Gendered Ape
75
Distinguishing Humans from Apes
78
Females of the Species
88
Are Apes Human Hybrids?
94
Modesty A Feminine Universal
99
Sir Oran Hautton
106
The New Body Politic
172
Who Should Do Science?
184
Black or White?
186
EighteenthCentury Experiments in Education
190
Natures Body Wronged
201
Notes
213
Bibliography
269
Index
283
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Londa Schiebinger is professor of history of science and the Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University.

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