Women in Science Courses (was BIOnic woman)

Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Wed Feb 19 11:07:21 EST 1997


On Tue, 18 Feb 1997, Veronica I. Arreola wrote:

> On 18 Feb 1997, Linnea Ista wrote:
> 
> > Did I miss something over the weekend? Has the name of the group been 
> > changed to "women in biology newsgroup and singles bar?"
> > Or could this post be considered a "job announcement?"
> > 
> > Just wondering if I was the only one who was disconcerted by this post! 
> > 
> > Linnea 
> > 
> > 
> No, you're not the only one. When I started to read it , I was like, what
> the ....??? But you know we are a bunch of women and what better way to
> find an intelligent women but to post here? ;) Hey I'm only kidding!  I
> guess that's the price we pay by not having this moderated. 
> 
> Let's get on to something bigger...
> 
> How do you all feel about grad students getting an empahsis in
> women's/feminist/gender studies that focused on women in science? Do you
> think that being knowledgable in our (aka women in science) history is
> important enough for women to be "certified" (lack of better word) in the
> area? 
> 
> Many times we have discussed women in science courses, but who teaches
> these?  Scientists who know little about feminist theory or women who know
> tons on feminist theory but know very little about how science and how it
> feels to be a women scienctist?

I taught one of these courses once. I was asked by the department chair 
(I was a visiting instructor) because, I suspect I was a young female 
scientist, and as he put it "have probably thought about the subject from 
time to time" I had very little *formal* grounding (i.e. classes) in 
feminist theory, but had read extensively on the subject. I called my 
course "Women *and* science" because science affects all women and in 
addition to discussing the history of women in science (which I found 
fascinating!) and the issues facing modern women in science, we also 
discussed things such as research on biological basis of gender roles, 
assumptions science has traditionally made about women, and how having 
women, particularly feminist women, within science has drastically 
changed some of these assumptions (I found this particularly amazing in 
primatology).

The class was, much to my surprise mostly men. (6 of 8). The department 
got the class certified as being able to meet a society unit requirement, 
so I think that is why there were so many men in the class. That and as 
one admitted later, he thought it would be a great place to 
meet intelligent women (grin). I think for those that were genuinely
 interested, the class was interesting and we all learned something. 

Would it have helped had I had a more formal grounding in gender studies? 
At least for resources, definitely. I think if I had to do it again, it 
would be cool to team teach it with someone who *does* have a formal 
grounding in gender studies. But would I seek formal training throughout 
my graduate career to teach just one class? I don't know if most 
universities, especially small ones, like the one that I was at, have the 
resources to hire someone to teach just one class.

Just my $0.02
Great topic, by the way!
Linnea



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