Determination and Resistance
Themes and historical touchstones that the lesson will cover:
- Influential biological determinists such as Dr. Edward H. Clarke and Dr. G. Stanley Hall argued that women’s bodies could not withstand the rigors of advanced scholarship.
- Marriage and reproduction as women’s destiny
- Acceptance of sex-typed roles for women – dominance of Darwin and Spencer and the conviction of biological temperaments by gender – women’s early professions built around belief in women’s inherent nurture
Context for the lesson:
- Clarke's text as foundational. He was retired at the time of publication. If women studied, they would endanger their reproductive possibilities. His book as a kind of medical endorsement of a much older cultural suspicion that women simply were unable undertake the same kind of scholarship as men. Went through 17 printings.
- Objections of the 1870s centered around the question of health
- 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act
- Women’s labor expanded during the war – as nurses, doctor, farm hands, factory laborers.