Book Summaries Cont’d: 20th-Century Sexuality and Sexology

The items below do a fantastic job in connecting the “private” with the “public” spheres—and show that they’re not actually separate spheres whatsoever. Many of these works, I already utilized during a research project on a statistical review of the Kinsey Report. I haven’t had time to revise the research paper that grew out of this project in order to get it accepted at a journal, but I’m positive that this will be easier as soon as I don’t have to read 13 books per week anymore. Just like the reading list on post-WWII US science and second-wave feminism, from which the following items are a part, I worked with Susan Lindee on this research paper. Continue reading

More Book Summaries on European History—and How These Relate to My Proposed Dissertation

The book summaries below are from my European History list with Heidi Voskuhl, a subsection titled “Bodies and Sexuality.” Since reading towards oral exams is not (only) an initiation rite, but also supposed to prepare me for my dissertation, I thought I’d post my current dissertation abstract before I provide the reading summaries. After all, hypotheses.org is for project-related blogs, not blogs of individual scholars. And this IS a project! Five to six years in grad school in preparation for this dissertation:

My dissertation traces and compares handedness and sex/gender as categories in the mind and brain sciences in Europe and the United States since the late nineteenth century. I inquire into the extent to which sex/gender and handedness were treated as unchangeable, innate qualities that originate from and impact the brain and mind. I also examine the interaction of changing conceptualizations of handedness and sex/gender on views of brains, selves, and groups of individuals sharing these characteristics. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which changes in scientific institutions and in society at large altered the understanding of the two categories. My work thus contributes to the historical scholarship on scientific classifications in different contexts: scientific laboratories, public policies, as well as social and cultural life more broadly. Since handedness has been largely neglected by historians, scientific publications as well as archival collections are crucial to this project. Combining close reading with large-scale digital text analyses will illuminate the practice and impact of scientific classifications. The dissertation will thus draw awareness to the continuities and ruptures in the meanings of two of the most pervasive categories in contemporary societies and to the relations between them.

Now you know what I’m talking about when I make statements about the ways in which these readings relate to my prospective dissertation topic (as I try to do more and more, as you will see even better in later and not-yet-posted essays). Continue reading

Book Summaries: Cold War Social Science, Gender Roles, and Reproduction

I have done many more readings. The following essay from my Cold War science and feminism list with Susan Lindee is already 1.5 months old and I can read faster and type more efficiently by now. As a colleague of mine, one year ahead of me in the same program, tells the grad student applicants who come in every Monday these days: If we were able to start over grad school with the knowledge and strategies we have now, we would need to get a hobby! We’d be so bored reading only four books a week. Continue reading

Finally Book Summaries Again: Long Histories of Germany—and the Sonderweg?

I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been reading and writing. I found a wonderful rhythm and can actually “read” books in 3 hours now. Here’s the first essay I wrote for my orals list with Heidi Voskuhl, titled “Modern Continental European History, 1789–1945.” I’ve already written the second (of six) essays and I still owe you one more that I’ve written for Susan Lindee in the meantime. But first, enjoy the summaries of German histories from old, wise, oftentimes German, men. These books actually help me see my dissertation coming together as these long histories are the background of the picture that I will draw when I write my dissertation, currently tentatively titled: “Is Female to Male as Left Is to Right? Sex/Gender and Handedness in the Mind and Brain Sciences, ca. 1860–2015” (I owe the pun in the title to my advisor John Tresch). Continue reading

More Book Summaries: Sex/Gender and Race in Genetics + Animals in the Lab and in the ‘Wild’

I just finished another set of readings for my orals list on “History of American Post-War Science and Feminism” with Susan Lindee. Read my summaries below and make sure to check out Etienne Benson’s site with many more resources on “wilderness” and STS. Continue reading

Book Summaries: The First 3^3 Items from My Brain List

Today, I’m posting my first summarizing essay for my “History of the Skull, Mind, and Brain Sciences” list for you. I’m reading the items from this list with John Tresch, who is my main advisor. Be warned: it’s 14 single-spaced pages in Palatino Linotype 11p with 1-inch margins. Continue reading

What Kind of a Sex/Gender Model Do We Need in the Lab?

Do you remember my post about the all-too-easy concept of attending to sex and gender in biomedical research (“What Kind of Sex Do We Need in the Lab?”)? Sarah Richardson and her colleagues just published a very insightful, informative, and important piece that is much more scientifically sophisticated than my short statement. “Focus on Preclinical Sex Differences Will Not Address Women’s and Men’s Health Disparities,” so the title. Check it out!

Thanks are due to Londa Schiebinger who, as so often, drew my attention to the publication through her Gendered Innovations newsletter.

Book Summaries: History, Tools, and Practices of Genetics and Hereditary Science

Here comes another contribution to my summaries for my list with Susan Lindee. Topic of the day: “History, Tools, and Practices of Genetics and Hereditary Science.” My original notes are much longer than what I provide in this essay, but I have a maximum of six pages to deliver. So I had to cut some of my observations. Have fun! Continue reading

More Book Summaries! Today: Sorting People Out and Digital Technologies

Last Wednesday, I had another orals meeting with Susan Lindee. You can find the bibliographical details of the books discussed in the blurb and my analytical essay below that. Guess which book I liked least! Continue reading

Get Your Book Summaries Here! Today: Non-Pure Science

I virtually just started reading towards comprehensive oral exams (= orals). I’m writing this post after having finished my third and, luckily, last book for tonight. Instead of taking notes on the 1,000 pages I read today, I want to share my summarizing essay for last week’s meeting with you. Continue reading