This paper explores the thought of Paul Ricœur from a feminist point of view. My goal is to show that it is necessary to narrate differently the history of our culture – in particular, the history of philosophy – in order for wommen to attain a self-representation that is equal to that of men. I seek to show that Ricoeur’s philosophy – especially his approach to the topics of memory and history, on the one hand, and the (...) human capacity for initiative, on the other hand– can support the idea that it is possible and legitimate to tell our history otherwise by envisioning a more accurate truth about ourselves. (shrink)
A pathbreaking new study of women and morality How do people decide what is "good" and what is "bad"? How does a society set moral guidelines -- and what happens when the behavior of various groups differs from these guidelines? Martha Saxton tackles these and other fascinating issues in Being Good , her history of the moral values prescribed for women in early America. Saxton begins by examining seventeenth-century Boston, then moves on to eighteenth-century Virginia and nineteenth-century (...) St. Louis. Studying women throughout the life cycle -- girls, young unmarried women, young wives and mothers, older widows -- through their diaries and personal papers, she also studies the variations due to different ethnicities and backgrounds. In all three cases, she is able to show how the values of one group conflicted with or developed in opposition to those of another. And, as the women's testimonies make clear, the emotional styles associated with different value systems varied. A history of American women's moral life thus gives us a history of women's emotional life as well. In lively and penetrating prose, Saxton argues that women's morals changed from the days of early colonization to the days of westward expansion, as women became at once less confined and less revered by their men -- and explores how these changes both reflected and affected trends in the nation at large. (shrink)
Luce Irigaray's work does not present an obvious resource for projects seeking to reclaim women in the history of philosophy. Indeed, many authors introduce their reclamation project with an argument against conceptions, attributed to Irigaray or “French feminists” more generally, that the feminine is the excluded other of discourse. These authors claim that if the feminine is the excluded other of discourse, then we must conclude that even if women have written philosophy they have not given voice (...) to feminine subjectivity; therefore, reclamation is a futile project. In this essay, I argue against such conclusions. Rather, I argue, Irigaray's work requires that philosophy be transformed through the reclamation of women's writing. She gives us a method of reclamation for the most difficult cases: those in which we have no record of women's writing. Irigaray offers this method through an engagement with the character of Diotima in Plato's Symposium. The method Irigaray demonstrates is reclamation as love. (shrink)
A History of Women Philosophers, Volume I: Ancient Women Philoophers, 600 B.C. - 500 A.D., edited by Mary Ellen Waithe, is an important but somewhat frustrating book. It is filled with tantalizing glimpses into the lives and thoughts of some of our earliest philosophical foremothers. Yet it lacks a clear unifying theme, and the abrupt transitions from one philosopher and period to the next are sometimes disconcerting. The overall effect is not unlike that of viewing an (...) expansive landscape, illuminated only by a few tiny spotlights. (shrink)
Within a relatively brief period of time, there has been a veritable outpouring of research on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This article presents a concise overview of some of the major works on these eating disorders from a variety of disciplines including biomedicine, psychology, sociology, and history. The article establishes a general context of Americans' preoccupation with food and diet. However, since the majority of those suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are female, this article places these (...) eating disorders in the specific historical context of American women's history. In earlier times, some women reacted to their role expectations with physical responses. While linking modern phenomena to these earlier physical reactions of American women, the article also highlights the various twentieth-century social and cultural factors that push some modern girls and women to respond to their situations either by refusing food or consuming and regurgitating large quantities of food.In addition to the historical perspective, which points to the relevance of social and cultural factors as well as biomedical and psychological ones, the article offers an overview of the various theories currently suggested to explain the meaning of food to those who suffer from these disorders. These theories range from the addiction model to food as a metaphor for control and self-definition. Whatever the meaning of food, it is important to note that both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are determined by an interaction of many factors both personal and biological and social and cultural. (shrink)
The 'Therapeutae' were a Jewish group of ascetic philosophers who lived outside Alexandria in the middle of the first century CE. They are described in Philo's treatise De Vita Contemplativa and have often been considered in comparison with early Christians, the Essenes, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. But who were they really? This study focuses particularly on issues of history, rhetoric, women, and gender in a wide exploration of the group, and comes to new conclusions about the 'Therapeutae' (...) and their relationship with the Jewish allegorical school of exegesis in Alexandria. The volume includes a new translation of De Vita Contemplativa. (shrink)
The womenhistory during the Spaniard domination period in the “Nuevo Reino de Granada” has not been studied in detail, especially in the XVI and XVII centuries. This research paper deals with some predominant topics about women’s situation in the Neogranadina society in Santa Fe de Bogotá during the XVII century.
The three major essays collected in this volume were written in the latter half of Mill's life (1806-1873) and were quickly accepted into the canon of European political and social thought. Today, when liberty and representative government collide with other principles and when women still experience prejudice, Mill's essays reveal his sense of history, intelligence, and ardent concern for human liberty, and continue to shed light on politics and contemporary society.
"An impressively reasoned and startlingly unorthodox treatise on religion." - Belles Lettres Florence Nightingale (1820-1920) is famous as the heroine of the Crimean War and later as a campaigner for health care founded on a clean environment and good nursing. Though best known for her pioneering demonstration that disease rather than wounds killed most soldiers, she was also heavily allied to social reform movements and to feminist protest against the enforced idleness of middle-class women. This original edition provides bold (...) new insights into Nightingale's beliefs and a new picture of the relationship between feminism and religion. Suggestions for Thought to the Searchers after Truth Among the Artisans of England (1860), which contains the novel Cassandra , is a central text in 19th-century history of feminist thought and is published here for the first time. Nightingale argues that work was the means by which every individual sought self-fulfillment and served God. She wrote influentially about the group most Victorians declared to be above work: unmarried, middle-class women. (shrink)
: Before women could become visible as philosophers, they had first to become visible as rational autonomous thinkers. A social and ethical position holding that chastity was the most important virtue for women, and that rationality and chastity were incompatible, was a significant impediment to accepting women's capacity for philosophical thought. Thus one of the first tasks for women was to confront this belief and argue for their rationality in the face of a self-referential dilemma.
: How might we locate originality as emerging from within the "discrete" work of commentary? Because many women have engaged with philosophy in forms (including commentary) that preclude their work from being seen as properly "original," this question is a feminist issue. Via the work of selected contemporary French women philosophers, the author shows how commentary can reconfigure the philosophical tradition in innovative ways, as well as in ways that change what counts as philosophical innovation.
This essay examines the socio-political and spiritual importance of the Book of Lamentations and lament expressions in Hebraic and early Christian liturgies and public settings, especially with regard to women’s lyrical expressions and to Syrian traditions until late antiquity. Further, this study addresses the current crisis in Syria, locating Syrian women’s and men’s laments today, including those from Muslim background. These laments show both continuity with ancient lament traditions and creative lyrical innovations that speak to the Syrian people’s (...) urgent, devastating situation and their united need for help and justice. (shrink)
The beginning of the twentieth century saw the emergence of the discipline of genetics. It is striking how many female scientists were contributing to this new field at the time. At least three female pioneers succeeded in becoming professors: Kristine Bonnevie (Norway), Elisabeth Schiemann (Germany) and the Tine Tammes (The Netherlands). The question is which factors contributed to the success of these women's careers? At the time women were gaining access to university education it had become quite the (...) norm for universities to be sites for teaching and research. They were still expanding: new laboratories were being built and new disciplines were being established. All three women benefited from the fact that genetics was considered a new field promising in terms of its utility to society; in the case of Tammes and Schiemann in agriculture and in the case of Bonnevie in eugenics. On the other hand, the field of genetics also benefited from the fact that these first female researchers were eager for the chance to work in science and wanted to make active contributions. They all worked and studied in environments which, although different from one another, were positive towards them, at least at the start. Having a patron was generally a prerequisite. Tammes profited from her teacher's contacts and status. Bonnevie made herself indispensable through her success as a teacher and eventually made her position so strong that she was no longer dependent on a single patron. The case of Schiemann adds something new; it shows the vulnerability of such dependency. Initially, Schiemann's teacher had to rely on the first generation of university women simply because he was unable to attract ambitious young men to his institute. In those early, uncertain years of the new discipline, male scientists tended to choose other, better established, and more prestigious disciplines. However, when genetics itself had become an established field, it also became more attractive to men. Our case studies also demonstrate that a new field at first relatively open to women closes its doors to them once it becomes established. (shrink)
This paper presents the metaphysics of liberal rights reasoning on one hand and that of demographic reasoning on the other, as exemplifying two worldviews that both compete and complement each other in the contemporary German public debate on demographic decline. First, this essay outlines the way in which liberal theorists of various outlooks, perfectionist and neutralist alike, assume that a wide range of rights serves not only the interests of those individuals who possess them, but that it constitutes the foundations (...) of a just and stable political order in general and therefore is to the advantage of everyone. Second, the essay explains how demographic reasoning questions the assumption of harmony shared by the liberal approaches. Third, it provides an impression of the way in which demographic arguments have been deployed in the public sphere in Germany in the last few years. These arguments associate the autonomy of women with the demise of Germany. They claim that by encouraging women to pursue self-realization as self-interested individuals, the modern secular ethos of Germany as a democratic welfare society may be self-destructive in the long run, since it leads to sub-replacement fertility. Finally, the essay stresses that liberal and demographic perspectives share a “blindness” of historical events. In response, the conclusion brings history back in, by historicizing both demographic reasoning and demographic developments in Germany, with the aim of defusing some of the anxieties that may have been aroused by the current debate. (shrink)
The article discusses the problems of development of women’s political rights in Lithuania in the legal historical aspect starting from the 16th century, when some property and individual rights were enshrined in the first codifications of the laws of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. The aim of the article is to show that women’s struggle for political equality and suffrage at the end of the 19th and at the turn of the 20th century correlates with the movement for (...) re-establishment of the independent State of Lithuania. As a result in Lithuania equal suffrage and political rights were ensured from the very beginning of independence. In 1905 the Great Seimas of Vilnius recognized the principles of equality of women and men and declared the principles of equal general election to the Seimas (parliament); women’s suffrage, as one of the elements of legal equality, became constitutionally entrenched already in the first temporary Constitution of the State of Lithuania in 1918. At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century women’s rights have been further developed, moreover, the first woman was elected as President of the Republic in the national elections in May 2009. (shrink)
This paper investigates hypotheses drawn from two sources: (1) Belsky, Steinberg, and Draper’s (1991) attachment theory model of the development of reproductive strategies, and (2) recent life history models and comparative data suggesting that environmental risk and uncertainty may be potent determinants of the optimal tradeoff between current and future reproduction. A retrospective, self-report study of 136 American university women aged 19–25 showed that current recollections of early stress (environmental risk and uncertainty) were related to individual differences in (...) adult time preference and adult sexual behavior, and that individual differences in time preference were related to adult attachment organization and sexual behavior. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that perceptions of early stress index environmental risk and uncertainty and mediate the attachment process and the development of reproductive strategies. On this view individual differences in time preference are considered to be part of the attachment theoretical construct of an internal working model, which itself is conceived as an evolved algorithm for the contingent development of alternative reproductive strategies. (shrink)
Life history theory suggests that in risky and uncertain environments the optimal reproductive strategy is to reproduce early in order to maximize the probability of leaving any descendants at all. The fact that early menarche facilitates early reproduction provides an adaptationist rationale for our first two hypotheses: that women who experience more risky and uncertain environments early in life would have (1) earlier menarche and (2) earlier first births than women who experience less stress at an early (...) age. Attachment theory and research provide the rationale for our second two hypotheses: that the subjective early experience of risky and uncertain environments (insecurity) is (3) part of an evolved mechanism for entraining alternative reproductive strategies contingent on environmental risk and uncertainty and (4) reflected in expected lifespan. Evidence from our pilot study of 100 women attending antenatal clinics at a large metropolitan hospital is consistent with all four hypotheses: Women reporting more troubled family relations early in life had earlier menarche, earlier first birth, were more likely to identify with insecure adult attachment styles, and expected shorter lifespans. Multivariate analyses show that early stress directly affected age at menarche and first birth, affected adult attachment in interaction with expected lifespan, but had no effect on expected lifespan, where its original effect was taken over by interactions between age at menarche and adult attachment as well as age at first birth and adult attachment. We discuss our results in terms of the need to combine evolutionary and developmental perspectives and the relation between early stress in general and father absence in particular. (shrink)