29 sept. 2016 - 16 juin 2017 Paris (France)

Programme et séances saison 3 2016-2017 > 21 Avril 2017 : Nicola Oswald (Universität Würzburg, Institut für Mathematik) : Gender and Mathematics - Some re ections on the power of soft factors and cultural practices

Intervenante : Nicola Oswald (Universität Würzburg, Institüt fur Mathematik)

Gender and Mathematics : some reflections on the power of soft factors and cultural practices

Résumé : In my talk I will try to approach the question why it seems to be generally difficult to find methodological approaches concerning the study of gender and mathematics [1]. This holds for the situation at the beginning of coeducational studies (of women and men at universities) as well as for the present situation: the issue of "women in science" had been and still is often discussed within a relationship of tension between subjectivity and objectivity.

One explanation may be based on so called "soft factors" [2] influencing career paths of female scientists, which had been recently investigated by the sociologist Heike Kahlert (University of Bochum) and which are astonishingly close to in uence factors taken into account for the careers of women in the history of mathematics and natural sciences [3]. Those mainly focus on sociocultural behavior, like established gender roles, institutional and professional culture, (potential) family planing as well as social and professional networking. Against the background of selected examples, we will illustrate that historically characterized cultural aspects may be powerful, in a long-lasting and remarkably sustainable sense.

Furthermore, we want to bring up and discuss the idea that the modern sociological view of soft factors can provide an effective tool for building a bridge between past and present as well as for comparing "cultural-related" practices.

[1] see among others Govoni and Franceschi (2014) as well as Govoni (2000)
[2] literally tranlation of "weiche Faktoren" in (Kahlert, 2015, pp. 61)
[3] see among others the introductory chapter of Tobies (2008) as well as the landmarkstudy Rossiter (1984)


Bibliograpgie :
- Govoni, P. (2000). Biography. A Critical Tool to Bridge the History of Science and the History of Women in Science. Nuncius. Annali di storia della scienza, 1:p. 399-409.

- Govoni, P. and Franceschi, Z. A. (2014). Writing about Lives in Science - (Auto)Biography, Gender, and Genre. V & R unipress.

- Kahlert, H. (2015). Nicht als Gleiche vorgesehen. Uber das "akademische Frauensterben" auf dem Weg an die Spitze der Wissenschaft. Beitrage zur Hochschulforschung, 37. Jahrgang, 3: p. 60-78.

- Rossiter, M. W. (1984). Women Scientists in America - Struggles and Strategies to 1940. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.

- Tobies, R. (2008). Aller Mannerkultur zum Trotz. Campus Verlag: Frankfurt a. M., New York.

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