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STS101: Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society

Unit 5: Feminist and Ecofeminist Studies and Critiques of Science   Unit 5 will introduce feminist and ecofeminist studies and critiques of science. Feminists have engaged with science at least since the early 1970s, with the beginning of Third Wave feminism. Feminists are concerned with such issues as the disproportionate representation of men versus women in science, inequity in the treatment of women in science, the representation of gender in science, a gender-biased approach to research, and a masculine conceptual bias at the heart of the scientific enterprise, among other issues. Ecofeminists see continuity between the way science and technology treat women and the way they treat nature.

Most feminist and ecofeminist studies of science and technology are normative or prescriptive in their approach. That is, while in many cases they may aim at describing how science and technology actually operate, the overall objective is usually one of critique in order to show how science should work. Feminist and ecofeminist studies of science cut across disciplinary boundaries and epistemological outlooks. In this unit, you will learn about the way feminists have engaged with science and the major issues that they consider. You will examine the major threads of feminist and ecofeminist engagements with science, as well as case studies in feminist and ecofeminist scholarship.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 15.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 13 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 0.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify issues important to feminist and ecofeminist studies/critiques of science and technology; - identify major feminist approaches to science and technology; - compare and contrast contemporary feminist approaches to science; - identify major thinkers associated with various feminist approaches to science and technology; and - define key terms used by feminist/ecofeminist studies of science and technology.

5.1 Feminist Studies and Critiques of Science and Technology   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Feminism and Science” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • Reading: Carnegie Mellon University: Marion Namenwirth’s “Science Seen Through a Feminist Prism” Link: Carnegie Mellon University: Marion Namenwirth’s “Science Seen Through a Feminist Prism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article, which is an example of a feminist study of the biological sciences.

    Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Elizabeth Alison Potter and Wenda K. Bauchspies’ “Feminist Perspectives on Science” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Elizabeth Alison Potter and Wenda K. Bauchspies’ “Feminist Perspectives on Science” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article, which summarizes the many aspects of feminist science studies and critiques of science and technology.

    Reading this article should take approximately 5 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Elizabeth Anderson’s “Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Elizabeth Anderson’s “Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article, which introduces the issues of feminist epistemology – how knowledge can be affected by the gender of the knower. In particular it examines how, according to some feminist scholars, gender can and does impact the knowledge that science produces. The reading is dense in parts and is fairly long. Further, some of it overlaps with the previous reading. The central concepts have to do with the critique of standard empiricism of science as a value-laden enterprise and the kinds of interventions that feminism can have within the contexts and content of science.

    Reading this article should take approximately 5 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 Ecofeminist Studies and Critiques of Science and Technology   - Reading: University of Tennessee at Martin: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Environmental Ethics” Link: University of Tennessee at Martin: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Environmental Ethics” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article.
Pay particular attention to Subsection C, “Ecofeminism.”  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Lilith eZine: Karen J. Warren’s “Introduction to Ecofeminism” (HTML) Link: The Lilith eZine: Karen J. Warren’s “Introduction to Ecofeminism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article. Note any convergences or divergences from the feminist studies and critiques that you have read before.

    Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 Key Terms   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s ”Key Terms Worksheet” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

[Submit Materials](/contribute/)