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The "Racial" Economy of Science

Toward a Democratic Future

Edited by Sandra Harding

Publication Year: 1993

"The classic and recent essays gathered here will challenge scholars in the natural sciences, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and women's studies to examine the role of racism in the construction and application of the sciences. Harding... has also created a useful text for diverse classroom settings." -- Library Journal

"A rich lode of readily accessible thought on the nature and practice of science in society. Highly recommended." -- Choice

"This is an excellent collection of essays that should prove useful in a wide range of STS courses." -- Science, Technology, and Society

"... important and provocative... "  -- The Women's Review of Books

"The timeliness and utility of this large interdisciplinary reader on the relation of Western science to other cultures and to world history can hardly be overemphasized. It provides a tremendous resource for teaching and for research... "  -- Ethics

"Excellent." -- The Reader's Review

"Sandra Harding is an intellectually fearless scholar. She has assembled a bold, impressive collection of essays to make a volume of illuminating power. This brilliantly edited book is essential reading for all who seek understanding of the multicultural debates of our age. Never has a book been more timely." -- Darlene Clark Hine

These authors dispute science's legitimation of culturally approved definitions of race difference -- including craniology and the measurement of IQ, the notorious Tuskegee syphilis experiments, and the dependence of Third World research on First World agendas.

Published by: Indiana University Press

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pp. ix-xiv

This collection brings together both classic and recent essays on the natural sciences by historians, anthropologists, linguists, biologists, engineers, policy analysts, sociologists, and community activists as well as statements by such institutions as the National Academy of Sciences, the Penang Conference on Science and Technology, and The Black Scholar. It is intended to show the richness ...

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Introduction: Eurocentric Scientific Illiteracy—A Challenge for the World Community

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pp. 1-22

An unexpected form of scientific illiteracy has become more and more visible over the last few decades. Earlier criticisms focused on the scientific illiteracy of humanists or of the working classes; recent ones challenge the Eurocentrism or androcentrism of many scientists, policymakers, and other highly educated citizens that severely limits public understanding of science as a fully social process ...

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I. Early Non-Western Scientific Traditions

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pp. 23-29

Western histories of science conventionally have told the story of human scientific and technological achievements as one only about the modern West. They sometimes acknowledge that other peoples have produced technological achievements, such as the Egyptian pyramids, and that medieval Arabic mathematics was highly advanced. Little more needs to be said about non-Western ...

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Poverties and Triumphs of the Chinese Scientific Tradition

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pp. 30-46

The historical civilization of China is, with the Indian and the European-Semitic, one of the three greatest in the world, yet only in recent years has any enquiry been begun into its contributions to science and technology. Apart from the great ideas and systems of the Greeks, between the first and the fifteenth centuries the Chinese, who experienced no "dark ages," were generally much in advance of ...

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Black Athena: Hostilities to Egypt in the Eighteenth Century

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pp. 47-63

My use of this quotation from Thomas Kuhn is an attempt to justify my presumption, as someone trained in Chinese history, to write on subjects so far removed from my original field. For I shall be arguing that although the changes of view that I am proposing are not paradigmatic in the strict sense of the word, they are none the less fundamental....

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Early Andean Experimental Agriculture

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pp. 64-78

There is only one Machu Picchu, but it guards many mysteries. The ruins of this ancient Peruvian city sit perched eight thousand feet above sea level on a mountain overlooking the Urubamba River. Even though in size Machu Picchu barely surpasses a village, the ruins show a complexity indicative of a much more important place. The stone houses with trapezoidal doorways and simple lintel ...

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II. Science Constructs “Race”

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pp. 79-83

It is now almost forty years since biologists and anthropologists began to point out why explanations of human variability in terms of "racial" 1 inheritance were not useful. Moreover, for an even longer time scientists have recognized "the incompatibility between race and natural selection . . . so that if one's major aim were to discover the races of man, one has to disregard natural selection,"...

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American Polygeny and Craniometry before Darwin: Blacks and Indians as Separate, Inferior Species

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pp. 84-115

Appeals to reason or to the nature of the universe have been used throughout history to enshrine existing hierarchies as proper and inevitable. The hierarchies rarely endure for more than a few generations, but the arguments, refurbished for the next round of social institutions, cycle endlessly. The catalogue of justifications based on nature traverses a range of possibilities: ...

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Racial Classifications: Popular and Scientific

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pp. 116-127

Many scholars in the biological sciences agree that all typological divisions of mankind into discrete racial groups are to some extent arbitrary and artificial. Despite this widespread agreement, there appear to be two divergent views regarding the utility of the concept of race in studies of human biology. On the one hand, there are scholars who maintain that race as a statistically defined unit can ...

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The Study of Race

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pp. 128-132

Discussion of the races seems to generate endless emotion and confusion. I am under no illusion that this paper can do much to dispel the confusion; it may add to the emotion. The latest information available supports the traditional findings of anthropologists and other social scientists-that there is no scientific basis of any kind for racial discrimination. I think that the way this conclusion has been ...

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On the Nonexistence of Human Races

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pp. 133-141

In the last decade there has been a remarkable increase in our knowledge of the complexities of human genetic variability. To an increasing number of anthropologists the concept of race seems to be losing its usefulness in describing this variability. In fact, for the human populations among which some of us have worked, it seems impossible even to divide these populations into races. At the ...

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IQ: The Rank Ordering of the World

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pp. 142-160

Social power runs in families. The probability that a child will grow into an adult in the highest 10 percent of income earners is ten times greater for children whose parents were in the top 10 percent than for children of the lowest 10 percent.1 In France, the school failure rate of working-class children is four times that for children of the professional class.2 How are we to explain hereditary ...

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The Health of Black Folk: Disease, Class, and Ideology in Science

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pp. 161-169

Since the first crude tabulations of vital statistics in colonial America, one stark fact has stood out: black Americans are sicker and die younger than whites. As the epidemic infectious diseases of the nineteenth century were vanquished, the black burden of ill health shifted to the modem killers: heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Today black men under age forty-five are ten times more likely to die ...

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Appropriating the Idioms of Science: The Rejection of Scientific Racism

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pp. 170-194

This paper considers some writings of minority groups, as they responded to and resisted the claims of scientific racism. In exploring the relationship between language and resistance we focus on two very different groups of individuals stereotyped as different and inferior in the biological, medical, and anthropological sciences, namely African-Americans and Jews. We concentrate specifically on ...

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III. Who Gets to Do Science?

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pp. 195-200

Science is supposed to be the most universal of all human products. It is supposed to make no difference whether a scientist is Japanese or British, white or black, male or female, of working class or wealthy origins. Scientific method is supposed to be powerful enough to eliminate from the results of research any social biases that may have crept into scientific work because of the obvious ...

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Aesculapius Was a White Man: Race and the Cult of True Womanhood

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pp. 201-209

During his travels in America, Tocqueville observed how blacks were degraded and assigned animal or brutish qualities, and how white women were elevated and praised for their morality. While blacks were segregated and enslaved, white women were placed within a narrow circle of domestic life and in a condition of dependency. Had Tocqueville reflected more deeply on these two developments,...

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Co-Laborers in the Work of the Lord: Nineteenth-Century Black Women Physicians

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pp. 210-227

The Afro-American woman physician of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remains an enigma. Today only scattered bits and pieces of evidence—an occasional biographical sketch, a random name in an old medical school catalogue—attest to the existence of this first generation of black women doctors. In spite of this negligible evidence, we know that in the quarter century after the ...

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Ernest Everett Just: The Role of Foundation Support for Black Scientists 1920–1929

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pp. 228-238

[Ernest Everett Just—the "Black Apollo of Science" in the biography by Kenneth R. Manning—was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1883 and died in Washington, D.C., in 1941. He graduated from South Carolina State College, then was admitted to Dartmouth. Immediately after earning his undergraduate degree in 1907, he began teaching at Howard University in Washington and at its medical ...

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Never Meant to Survive. A Black Woman’s Journey: An Interview with Evelynn Hammonds

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pp. 239-248

Aimee. What was it that sparked becoming a scientist in your mind? . . . Evelynn. I thought I'd like to be a scientist when at nine I had my first chemistry set. I had such a good time with all the experiments. I wanted to know more, and I wanted to get the advanced Gilbert chemistry set so I could do more interesting experiments. ...

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Increasing the Participation of Black Women in Science and Technology

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pp. 249-253

I first came to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Office of Opportunities in Science as a research assistant in 1975. The Office had received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an inventory of special programs which had been undertaken to increase the participation of minorities in science, mathematics, engineering and health. The inventory of ...

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Without More Minorities, Women, Disabled, U.S. Scientific Failure Certain, Fed Study Says

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pp. 254-258

Washington, D.C.—To combat the projected shortage of scientists and engineers, the nation must encourage women, minorities and disabled individuals to earn three times as many bachelor's degrees and ten times as many Ph.D.s in these fields over the next decade, a new federal report says. Changing America: The New Face of Science and Engineering, the final report ...

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Modern Science and the Periphery: The Characteristics of Dependent Knowledge

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pp. 259-268

The modem sciences that rose in Europe from the seventeenth century spread in the subsequent centuries to the rest of the world and began to occupy a dominant position. The peripheral countries were mostly the colonies of those countries where modern science had developed. This intimate colonial link directed and distorted the development of science within the peripheral countries. The impact...

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IV. Science’s Technologies and Applications

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pp. 269-274

Should the strengths and weaknesses of the sciences, on the one hand, and of scientific technologies, applications and consequences, on the other hand, be evaluated independently? As was discussed in the introductory essay, the older view has been that they are discrete, and that it is important not to confuse the two. (This directive has sometimes, bizarrely, been interpreted to mean that ...

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The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: “A Moral Astigmatism”

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pp. 275-286

In late July of 1972, Jean Heller of the Associated Press broke the story: for forty years the United States Public Health Service (PHS) had been conducting a study of the effects of untreated syphilis on black men in Macon County, Alabama, in and around the county seat of Tuskegee. The Tuskegee Study, as the experiment had come to be called, involved a substantial number of men: 399 who ...

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Calling the Shots? The International Politics of Depo-Provera

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pp. 287-302

Depo-Provera, the three-monthly contraceptive injection, is a case study in the dilemmas posed to women by the development of the new reproductive technology. On the one hand Depo's easy administration and contraceptive efficacy makes contraception potentially convenient for millions of underprivileged women; on the other hand these very features make it a powerful tool for the ...

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Colonialism and the Evolution of Masculinist Forestry

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pp. 303-314

The Age of Enlightenment and the theory of progress to which it gave rise were centred on the sacredness of two categories: modem scientific knowledge and economic development. Somewhere along the way, the unbridled pursuit of progress, guided by science and development, began to destroy life without any assessment of how fast and how much of the diversity of life on this ...

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Applied Biology in the Third World: The Struggle for Revolutionary Science

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pp. 315-325

Debates about the nature of science in the Third World are very different from those in Europe and North America. In the industrial capitalist countries, science is already deeply entrenched in institutions, intellectual life, public policy, and technology. It is a fact of life: even debates about science policy accept science as given and argue mostly about the uses and abuses of or access to science. Modern ...

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Environmental Racism

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pp. 326-334

"We're sitting in a center of a donut surrounded by a hazardous waste incinerator that gives off PCBs, seven landfills that are constantly growing-they look like mountains," Hazel Johnson was saying. "There are chemical plants, a paint factory, two steel mills which give off odors, and lagoons filled with all kinds of contaminants that emit 30,000 tons of poison into the air each year. ...

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V. Objectivity, Method, and Nature: Value Neutral?

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pp. 335-340

By now, it is widely held that objectivity, method, and, indeed, nature-as-an-object-of-knowledge cannot possibly be value free. Scientific method was supposed to ensure the elimination of social values from the results of scientific research. In the selection presented here, the National Academy of Sciences adopts the enlarged understanding of scientific method for which so many science ...

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Methods and Values in Science: National Academy of Sciences

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pp. 341-343

Over the years, scientists have developed a vast array of methods that are designed to minimize problems [of researcher bias]. At the most familiar level, these methods include techniques such as double-blind trials, randomization of experimental subjects, and the proper use of controls, which are all aimed at reducing individual subjectivity. Methods also include the use of tools in scientific work, ...

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Nazi Medicine and the Politics of Knowledge

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pp. 344-358

The triumph of National Socialism coincides with the most rapid demise of the scientific culture of a people in recent history. In 1930 Germany led the world in the physical, life, and social sciences. By 1935, however, one in five scientists had been driven from their posts; in some universities (the University of Berlin, for example) this figure approached one in three.1 National Socialists forced the emigration ...

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Race and Gender: The Role of Analogy in Science

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pp. 359-376

Metaphor occupies a central place in literary theory, but the role of metaphors, and of the analogies they mediate, in scientific theory is still debated.1 One reason for the controversy over metaphor, analogy, and models in science is the intellectually privileged status that science has traditionally enjoyed as the repository of nonmetaphorical, empirical, politically neutral, universal knowledge. ...

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The Bio-Politics of a Multicultural Field

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pp. 377-397

Japanese field study of an indigenous monkey inaugurated post-World War II naturalistic studies of nonhuman primates. The origin of the post-war primate story is within non-Western narrative fields. In the beginning, Japanese primatology was both autonomous and autochthonous—but not innocent, not without history. Human and animal, the actors and authors appeared on an island stage ...

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Cultural Differences in High-Energy Physics: Contrasts between Japan and the United States

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pp. 398-407

The members of the particle physics community are firmly committed to the international, supracultural image of science.1 Particle physicists from anywhere in the world are fond of remarking that they have more in common with each other than with their next-door neighbors. All of these physicists consider themselves members of an intellectual elite, perhaps the intellectual elite, because ...

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The “Relevance” of Anthropology to Colonialism and Imperialism

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pp. 408-428

In the aftermath of a large student rebellion at Harvard in the spring of 1969, a graduate student in anthropology raised a criticism of our field which I have often heard: . . . Social anthropology-traditionally a field concerned with explaining and understanding small-scale cultures and societies, especially in the non-Western ...

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VI. The Future: Toward a Democratic Strategy for World Sciences

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pp. 429-433

Many of the essays in the earlier sections have begun to envision different relations between sciences and contemporary societies, and different sciences for the more democratic world communities that they value. The essays in this final section focus directly on these issues. Several are well-known historical documents; others are newer. There are diverse proposals for strategy here, as well as ...

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Science and Democracy: A Fundamental Correlation

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pp. 434-439

Perhaps it is a commonplace to say that science is only possible in a democratic medium. But commonplaces may be quite erroneous when carefully examined, and if this one be true, it cannot be thought of as established in the absence of detailed consideration. I believe, however, that there is a fundamental correlation between science and democracy. ...

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People’s Science

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pp. 440-455

In the fifteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci refused to publish plans for a submarine because he anticipated that it would be used as a weapon. In the seventeenth century, for similar reasons, Boyle kept secret a poison he had developed. In 1946, Leo Szilard, who had been one of the key developers of the atom bomb, quit physics in disillusionment over the ways in which the government had used ...

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Science and Black People: Editorial The Black Scholar

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pp. 456-457

The uses of scientific knowledge cannot be separated from the society in which those uses occur. The myth of "pure" science, of science as a detached, ivory tower pursuit, has been exposed. Science is enmeshed in the prevailing social ideologies. The choice of what subjects to investigate, which experiments to undertake, what methods to employ, which results to emphasize as important, to ...

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Science, Technology and Black Community Development

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pp. 458-471

Some may consider it odd to find included on the agenda of Black people a topic such as that being presented in this article. Some may ask what do science and technology have to do with Black survival and progress? What do they have to do with urban areas? It is my purpose today to explore the thesis that scientific breakthroughs and technological developments affect Black Americans in very ...

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Towards a Democratic Strategy for Science: The New Politics of Science

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pp. 472-483

In the immediate postwar period, the single issue that lay heaviest on the conscience and consciousness of the scientific community was its contribution, whether explicit or implicit, to the most horrendous weapon ever conceived, developed, or used—the atomic bomb. Few challenged the escalating budget for science at the time, particularly since, coming primarily from public sources, the ...

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Modern Science in Crisis. A Third World Response: Third World Network

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pp. 484-518

Modern science and technology is in a state of acute crisis. This crisis manifests itself in several forms.1 The most obvious are in the end products of contemporary science and technology systems such as technologies and products, etc., which are often directed towards destruction, waste and the alienation of people from people and people from nature. ...

Name Index

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pp. 519-526

E-ISBN-13: 9780253115539
E-ISBN-10: 0253115531
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253208101

Page Count: 544
Illustrations: 4 b&w photos
Publication Year: 1993

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Subject Headings

  • Women in science -- History.
  • Minorities in science -- History.
  • Science -- History.
  • Science -- Political aspects
  • Science -- Social aspects.
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