ANTHRO 2656 - Taught by Prof. Anna Jabloner on Wednesdays 9am-11am in room Peabody 12.
On August 24, Prof. Jabloner will hold open office hours on Zoom from 2-3pm EST. Feel free to drop in at any time during that hour to ask questions or to say hello.
This graduate seminar introduces the interdisciplinary field of feminist science studies, a field with central implications for anthropological theories and ethnographic methodologies. When the 1970s feminist movements began to change the US political landscape, academic feminists began inquiries into the marginalization of women in science, a debate philosopher Sandra Harding called “the woman question in science.” Feminist scientists began to examine sex, gender, and race bias in their own disciplines. In consequence, these scholars and activists began to raise questions about the epistemologies underlying Western science, such as andro- and Euro-centrism. Harding called this debate the “science question in feminism.” Since then, feminist science studies scholars have produced a critical literature on sex, gender, race, class, and disability in biology, physics, engineering, medicine, and in the humanities and social sciences.
In this course, canonical feminist critiques of science will start off the semester, followed by readings that outline the field’s basic questions. We will then examine queer / feminist writings from within and about scientific specialties, whereby scientific context and content will continuously be up for discussion. During midterm week, we will read Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale as a break from theory and as literary perspective on some of our main topics. In the second half of the semester, we will examine feminist writings about physics and nuclear science, and then focus on reproduction and reproductive technologies, another crucial realm of feminist science studies’ activity. We will go on to medical research and political issues around medicalization. Finally, we will think about various paths feminists have taken to intervene into scientific fields through scholarly writing, art, and activism.
Amidst current calls to decolonize the academy, this seminar overall seeks to understand what motivated feminist science studies' emergence, what its main intervention areas are, and what its relevance is in the current moment. Our focus will be on tracing a theoretical genealogy from political interventions to a rich conceptual apparatus—beyond the nature / culture dichotomy and related binaries—that now informs fields such as anthropology, gender, environmental and animal studies, and others. You can also use this class to develop skills for thinking critically and conceptually about knowledge production, and methodologically to think about how feminist approaches foster justice-oriented research trajectories geared toward societal transformation. Finally, I may offer a second part to this seminar in Spring 2022, focusing on how these conceptual interventions led to/inform contemporary anthropological theory & practice beyond the nature-culture binary, such as new (feminist) materialisms and multispecies ethnographies.