Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present

By Sue V. Rosser | Go to book overview

The 18th Century

MARILYN BAILEY OGILVIE

Eighteenth-century intellectuals accepted, articulated, expanded, and clarified the idea that men and women had radically different natures. One of the most enigmatic and influential philosophers of this time was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)

Rousseau’s mother died shortly after his birth, and he was raised by his aunt. Although Rousseau did not have a formal education, his profligate watchmaker father, Isaac, taught his son to love books, music, and ideas. At first apprenticed to the city notary or registrar and second to a young engraver, Rousseau despised them both. After working for only three years of a five-year contract, Rousseau left the second apprenticeship and worked at various menial jobs (Damrosch 2005). He was befriended by Baronne de Warens, who further exposed him to books and ideas.

In spite of his background, Rousseau became one of the Enlightenment’s most original thinkers. Noted for his political philosophy expressed in The Social Contract, he influenced the American Founding Fathers and the French Revolutionaries. His Confessions provide us with a record of his life through his own eyes and were important in establishing the genre of autobiography. His own personal life was chaotic and his recollections of it, written much after the fact, reflect his own obsessions and fears. His views concerning women are somewhat contradictory. While he put women on a pedestal to be worshipped, his view as to their place in society was inimical to their success in intellectual pursuits. Rousseau was a mass of contradictions. In his book on education, Émile, he stated that children should be allowed to develop according to their natural abilities. But he put his own children in a foundling home as soon as they were born. While making an inspired case for social equality, he formed close friendships with aristocrats and endorsed female subservience.

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Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chronological Section- Changes in Myths of Gender over Time 1
  • Antiquity 3
  • Medieval Era 17
  • Renaissance 31
  • The 18th Century 43
  • The 19th Century 61
  • Early 20th Century 79
  • Thematic Section- Concepts of Gender in Different Contexts 93
  • Disciplines - Chemistry 95
  • Physics/Astronomy 103
  • Mathematics 109
  • Computer Science 115
  • Biology 123
  • Psychology 129
  • Medicine 135
  • Technology 141
  • Aspects of Human Biology and Behavior - The Brain 149
  • Cognitive Abilities 155
  • Mental Illness 161
  • Personality/Rationality/Emotionality 167
  • Endocrinology and Hormones 173
  • Menstruation/Menopause/PMS 177
  • Early Modern Health 181
  • Gender/Sex—How Conjoined 187
  • Homosexuality 193
  • Race 201
  • Nature/Nurture 207
  • Institutions - Women’s Education 213
  • Motherhood 223
  • Religion 229
  • Universities 235
  • Federal Agencies 249
  • Industry 259
  • Professional Societies 263
  • Discrimination 273
  • Women Scientists as Leaders 283
  • Nobel Laureates 295
  • Gender and Occupational Interests 319
  • Other Perspectives on Gender and Myths and Beliefs in Scientific Research - Feminist Philosophy of Science 325
  • Biologists Who Study Gender/Feminism 337
  • Historians of Science and Technology Who Focus on Feminism 347
  • Primatologists Who Focus on Females/Gender 357
  • Critiques of Science 365
  • Marxism/Socialism and Feminism/Gender 373
  • Ecofeminism 381
  • Cyberfeminism 387
  • Race, Postcolonial Gender, and Science 393
  • Feminist Science Studies 399
  • Women’s Health Movement 405
  • Science Fiction 419
  • Conclusion 427
  • Appendix of- Statistical Tables 437
  • Glossary 445
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 481
  • About the Editor 501
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