Writing about Lives in Science: (Auto)Biography, Gender, and Genre

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Paola Govoni, Zelda Franceschi
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, May 14, 2014 - History - 287 pages
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Following discussions on scientific biography carried out over the past few decades, this book proposes a kaleidoscopic survey of the uses of biography as a tool to understand science and its context. It offers food for thought on the role played by the gender of the biographer and the biographee in the process of writing. To provide orientation in such a challenging field, some of the authors have accepted to write about their own professional experience while reflecting on the case studies they have been working on. Focusing on (auto)biography may help us to build bridges between different approaches to men and women’s lives in science. The authors belong to a variety of academic and professional fields, including the history of science, anthropology, literary studies, and science journalism. The period covered spans from 1732, when Laura Bassi was the first woman to get a tenured professorship of physics, to 2009, when Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Carol W. Greider were the first women’s team to have won a Nobel Prize in science.
 

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Contents

Body
7
Part I Between Biography and Autobiography
31
Potholes Everywhere How not to Read my Biography of Barbara McClintock
33
Following the Story From The Mind Has No Sex? to Gendered Innovations
43
Telling Stories or Making History? Two Lives in Xray Crystallography
55
Part II Shaping Biographies
65
The Biographies of Laura Bassi
67
Listening to the Archives Searching for the EighteenthCentury Women of Science
87
Mirror Shards Conflicting Images between Marie Curies Autobiography and her Biographies
141
Women in the Field Writing the History Genealogies and Science in Margaret Meads Autobiographical Writings
161
The Making of Italo Calvino Women and Men in the Two Cultures Home Laboratory
187
Women Scientists of the 1970s An EgoHistoire of a Lost Generation
223
Afterword
261
On the Margins of the Margins Awareness and Delay
263
Contributors
277
Acknowledgments
279

Rethinking Scientific Biography The Enlightenment of Maria Gaetana Agnesi
117
Part III Networking
139

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About the author (2014)

Zelda Alice Franceschi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bologna. Paola Govoni is Assistant Professor of History of Science at the University of Bologna.

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