A friend who is revamping his feminist philosophy syllabus (upper-level, undergraduate course) writes that he finds his students to be friendly to feminism but “also inclined to think that we’re ‘post-feminist.'” His query continues, help a brother out:
So, I’m looking for a book that helps to motivate the project of the class and counter the claim that feminism did its work and everything is fine now. To do so, it should be relatively recent (with current data and examples). I’d prefer that it be a book, since I’ve found that it’s nice to unify and bring cohesion to the first few weeks of the semester, but individual articles could work, too. Do you have any suggestions?
I suggested Susan Brison’s Aftermath, my go-to book for demonstrating that feminist philosophy is about life-and-death matters which continue. Suggestions very welcome!
A recent article in Neuron, with the title above, addresses a very important phenomenon: Investigations in neuroscience get absorbed into contexts that are ‘symbolically layered and socially loaded‘. As the article says:
Since the “Decade of the Brain,” the field of neuroscience has expanded dramatically, tackling increasingly complex topics with profound social and policy implications … Neuroscience is now firmly rooted as a basic reference point within the public sphere, drawn into discussion of diverse issues such as antisocial behavior, economic decisions, substance abuse, and education.
However, scientific information is rarely transplanted intact into the public domain. As science penetrates the public sphere, it enters a dense network of cultural meanings and worldviews and is understood through the prism they provide. The cultural context determines which aspects of science travel into public consciousness: knowledge that resonates with prevailing social concerns is selectively “taken up” in public dialogue. For example, the “Mozart effect”—the empirically unsubstantiated idea that classical music enhances children’s intelligence … Furthermore, scientific information acquires new meanings as cultural preconceptions are projected onto it. For instance, Green and Clémence, 2008 demonstrate how over the course of public communication, a study linking vasopressin to affiliative behavior in voles (Young et al., 1999) was reconstituted as a discovery of the “faithfulness gene.” These lay ideas (or “social representations”) of science can have tangible societal consequences.
The article contains an extremely helpful bibliography for anyone wanting to look at the issues in this domain; it appears fairly innocent of feminist analysis, unfortunately. We have in a number of posts discussed some of the work by Cordelia Fine, who works in this area.
Well, not exactly, but one religious publication suggests it is close. Why? Because they are investigating the Girl Scouts. See the NY Times story:
The Girl Scouts are facing an official inquiry by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, and assertions that the Scouts associate with groups espousing stances in conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances. The inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ “possible problematic relationships” and “problematic” program materials, according to a letter from the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to fellow bishops. Critics contend that Scouts’ materials should not contain links to groups like Doctors Without Borders, the Sierra Club and Oxfam because they support family planning or emergency contraception. (My stress)