Im/Partial Science

Im/Partial Science

Gender Ideology in Molecular Biology
Bonnie B. Spanier
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/1/1995
ISBN: 978-0-253-11604-8
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“. . . this is an outstanding book. Closely argued and clearly written, it offers astonishing insights into the alchemy by which ideology gets transmuted into scientific fact.” —Women and Health

“. . . a significant contribution for those positioned at the nexus of rhetoric, feminism, and science. . . .richly detailed analysis that demonstrates how ideological underpinnings shape both the construction of science and a discipline that claims to hold answers to the mysteries of life.” —Quarterly Journal of Speech

“As a molecular biologist and women’s studies director, Spanier’s expertise and awareness of these two fields converge in her knowledgeable discussion of the formal representations of molecular biology and their inherent gender ideology.” —Choice

“Spanier’s critique brings the strengths of feminist science theory to the heart of contemporary science. Spanier speaks to natural scientists and to feminist scholars as a scientist.” —Sandra Harding

“ . . . an eye-opening intrduction to the way philosophical views influence biology. Physicians should sit up and take special notice of Spanier’s work. If harmful, unexamined social assumptions penetrate the core of biology, it is doubtful that the rest of biology is untouched by them.” —Journal of the American Medical Association

Exploring the discourse of scientists and scientist-educators, Spanier illuminates distortions and implicit values: from male-female stereotypes imposed onto bacteria to singling out one molecule, DNA, as the controlling molecule of life. Defining molecular biology as molecular genetics may result in a narrow approach to the concept of life and to the study of diseases such as cancer. She calls for a rethinking of science in the social, economic, and political contexts in which it is enmeshed.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Context and Methodology

1. Molecular Biology from a Feminist Perspective
An Introduction

2. Bridging the Gulf
Feminism and Molecular Biology

3. Methodology

Part II: Gender Ideology in the Content of Molecular Biology

4. Sex and the Single Cell
Distorting Genetics

5. Sex and Molecules
From Hormones to Brains

6. From Menstruation to DNA
Centralized Control

7. Power at a Price
Unifying Principles

Part III: Science and Society in Molecular Biology

8. Molecular Biology
Disinterested Science?

Conclusion: Strengthening the Bridge

Appendix A. Fields of Graduate Study in Biology
Appendix B. Field Definitions from Peterson’s Guide
Appendix C. Fields and Techniques