A world without women: the Christian clerical culture of Western science

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Knopf, 1992 - History - 329 pages
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In this groundbreaking work of history, David Noble examines the origins and implications of the masculine culture of Western science and technology. He begins by asking why women have figured so little in the development of science, and then proceeds--in a fascinating and radical analysis--to trace their absence to a deep-rooted legacy of the male-dominated Western religious community. He shows how over the last thousand years science and the practices and institutions of higher learning were dominated by Christian clerics, whose ascetic culture from the late medieval period militated against the inclusion of women in scientific enterprise. He further demonstrates how the attitudes that took hold then remained more or less intact through the Reformation, and still subtly permeate our thinking despite the secularization of learning. Noble also describes how during the first millennium and after, women at times gained amazingly broad intellectual freedom and participated both in clerical activities and in scholarly pursuits. But, as Noble shows, these episodic forays occurred only in the wake of anticlerical movements within the church and without. He suggests finally an impulse toward "defeminization" at the core of the modern scientific and technological enterprise as it works to wrest from one-half of humanity its part in production (the Industrial Revolution's male appropriation of labor) and reproduction (the millennium-old quest for the artificial womb). An important book that profoundly examines how the culture of Western science came to be a world without women.

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User Review  - lamona - LibraryThing

Noble begins by wondering why women have had so little role in science throughout our history, and traces this to the exclusively masculine religious orders that dominated research and scholarship ... Read full review

A world without women: the Christian clerical culture of Western science

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Noble takes a bold, important step toward explaining the current minor role of women in science by placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the monastically oriented, male-dominated Christian ... Read full review


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