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Defying the Laws of Nature?: Menstruation and Female Intellect in Historical Perspective

Defying the Laws of Nature?: Menstruation and Female Intellect in Historical Perspective

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Title: Defying the Laws of Nature?: Menstruation and Female Intellect in Historical Perspective
Author: Jenkins, Amanda Lauren
Abstract: In 19th and early 20th century America menstruation began to be constructed as a barrier to women wishing to access higher education. Male physicians warned of the supposed dangers studying would impose upon female reproductive systems. A closer look at these perspectives are explored in greater depth through my research question “What discourses has science constructed around the relationship between menstruation and female cognitive ability from the late 1800s to today in America?” This paper explores two key figures in the battle against educating women: Edward H. Clarke (1820-1877) and G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924). Despite substantial support for Clarke and Hall’s arguments, many feminists sought to disprove their theories. Psychologist Leta Hollingworth, and physicians Clelia Mosher and Mary Putnam Jacobi were forerunners in these arguments. A look at how and why menstrual invalidism has persevered from 19th century to today will be explored through Nancy Tuana’s epistemology of ignorance framework.
Subject: American history
Education
Psychology
Keywords: Cognitive ability
American history
Feminism
Feminists
Psychology
Education
Menstruation
Women
Physicians
Medical
19th century
20th century
Epistemology
Ignorance
Menstrual invalidism
Reproduction system
Science
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/28262
Supervisor: Rutherford, Alexandra
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Program: Psychology (Functional Area: History and Theory)
Exam date: 2014-08-18
Publish on: 2015-01-26

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