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ERIC Number: EJ1143575
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
"A Fair Chance for the Girls": Discourse on Women's Health and Higher Education in Late Nineteenth Century America
Tsang, Tiffany Lee
American Educational History Journal, v42 n2 p137-150 2015
Histories of education in America often discuss how concerns over women's health influenced public opinion on women's participation in higher education in the late nineteenth century. However, these histories almost exclusively focus on literature produced by the medical community--literature claiming that rigorous academic study was detrimental to women's health. What is often missing is a comprehensive recounting of how women challenged the medical wisdom of the day by responding publicly to the assertions of the medical experts. These forms of resistance included responses in print media as well as female physicians who came forward publicly to reject the claims made by the male-dominated medical community. I argue that by doing so, feminists, female physicians, and the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA) reasserted women's authority over their own bodies and also rejected male physicians' enforcing of social and moral discipline through their alleged expertise over women's bodies. By further exploring how feminists, female physicians, and the ACA adopted scientific language and principles in order to speak on women's health and higher education, this study contributes to feminist scholarship on women and education by highlighting a significant form of resistance against patriarchal medical authority. This study also illustrates the relevance of the concept of the body in understanding the debate over women's higher education and the implications of authority over women's bodies. Lastly, this study contributes to our understanding of the intersections of gender, medical science, and education reform.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A