Sex and Gender

Ludmilla Jordanova

in Inventing Human Science

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780520200104
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916227 | DOI:
Sex and Gender

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This chapter makes clear the range of discussion and the difficulties facing any attempt to generalize about eighteenth-century opinions. Silently gendered language did not exclude fascination with the topic of differences between women and men, a fascination which became so strong for some writers that it turned into a desire for a systematic science, even “a science of women.” Both women and men contributed to this. The science of woman addressed women's nature in ways comparable with the literature on human nature in general, revealing the same ambiguity about “nature,” the same normative structure, and similarly historicizing the content but not the capacities of that nature.

Keywords: human science; eighteenth-century opinions; gendered language; science of woman; human nature

Chapter.  15078 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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