“How excellent… for a woman”? The fellowship program of the International Federation of University Women in the interwar period

Anna Cabanel

Abstract


Funding bodies and their fellowship programmes became a cornerstone of the scientific world in the twentieth century, not only providing scholars with the means to conduct their research in practice, but also decisively influencing the perception of their scientific persona as an expression of their expertise. Although women were increasingly entering the scientific realm at the time, few succeeded in obtaining such fellowships. In this article, I shall take a closer look at the fellowship programme of the International Federation of University Women during the interwar period, specifically designed to enable women to continue their research abroad. By focussing in particular on the selection process, as evidenced by the minutes of committee meetings and the fellows’ files, I shall explore the implicit norms and expectations to which candidates were subject in order to reconstruct the ideal type of woman scientist. The fellowship programme was meant to function as a meritocratic and excellence-oriented system, in which personal and non-scientific characteristics did not serve as criteria in the allocation of funding. Deliberately understating aspects of gender and developing a strictly meritocratic discourse, the Federation promoted a “disembodied" type of scientific persona as a strategy aimed at overcoming a long-standing bias against the alleged amateurism of women scientists. Whereas other funding bodies such as the Rockefeller Foundation contributed to the shape of a masculine persona, the IFUW sought to promote a universal model, in which women could be recognised as legitimate scientists. 


Keywords


Scientific persona; gender; fellowship programme; women scientists; internationalisation; interwar period

Full Text:

PDF

References


Abir-Am, P.G. 1996, ‘Women in modern scientific research: A historical overview’, UNESCO world science report.

AAUW, 1937, AAUW Fellows, AAUW, Washington D.C.

Biagioli M., Galison P. (eds.) 2003, Scientific Authorship: Credit and Intellectual Property in Science, Routledge, London.

Bosch, M. 1994, Het geslacht van de wetenschap. Vrouwen en hoger onderwijs in Nederland 1878-1948, SUA, Amsterdam.

Bosch, M. 2016, ‘Scholarly Personae and Twentieth-Century Historians’, BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, vol. 131, no. 4, pp. 33-54.

Boudia, S. 2011, Marie Curie et son laboratoire: sciences et industrie de la radioactivité en France, Archives Contemporaines, Paris.

Bourdieu, P. 1976, ‘Le champ scientifique’, Actes de la recherche en science sociales, vol. 2, no. 2-3, pp. 88-104.

Condren, C., Gaukroger, S. & Hunter, I. 2006, The Philosopher in Early Modern Europe: The Nature of a Contested Identity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Daston, L., Sibum, O. 2003, ‘Introduction: Scientific Personae and Their Histories’, Science in Context, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 1-8, DOI 10.1111/hith.10717.

Fleck, C., Beister H. 2011, A Transatlantic History of the Social Sciences : Robber Barons, the Third Reich and the Invention of Empirical Social Research, Bloomsbury Academic, London.

Gildersleeve, V. 1954, Many a Good Crusade, The Macmillan Company, New York.

Gleditsch, E., ‘Kvinnelige akademikere – utenlandsophold og stipendier’, in NKAL, Kvinnelige Studenter 1882-1932, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, Oslo, p. 244-248.

Goodman J. 2012, ‘Women and International Intellectual Co-operation’, Paedagogica Historica, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 357-368.

Guillemain, H., Richard, N. 2016, ‘Introduction. Towards a Contemporary Historiography of Amateurs in Science (18th – 20th Century)’, in V. Barras, H. Steinke (eds.), The Frontiers of Amateur Science (18th-20th Century), Gesnerus, vol. 73, n°2, pp. 201-237.

Huistra, P., Wils, K. 2016, ‘Fit to Travel. The Exchange Programme of the Belgium American Educational Foundation: An Institutional Perspective on Scientific Persona Formation (1920-1940)’, BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, vol. 131, no. 4, pp. 112-134.

IFUW, Bulletins [1920-1926], IFUW archives, Atria, Amsterdam.

Jordanova, L. 1989, Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.

Keller, E. F. 1985, Reflections on Gender and Science, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Lykknes A., Kvittingen L. & Børresen A.K. 2004, ‘Appreciated Abroad, Depreciated at Home. The Career of a Radiochemist in Norway: Ellen Gleditsch (1879-1968)’, Isis, vol. 95, no. 4, pp. 576-609.

Nicholson, V. 2007, Singled out: How Two Million Women Survives Without Men After World War One, Penguin, London.

Niskanen, K. 2016, ‘Searching for “Brains and Quality”. Fellowship Programs and Male Constructions of Scientific Personae by the Rockefeller Foundation in Sweden During the Interwar Period’(paper presented at the ESHS conference, Prague).

Noakes, L. 2008, ‘“Playing at Being Soldier”?: British Women and Military Uniform in the First World War’, in J. Meyer (ed.), British Popular Culture and the First World War, Brill, Leiden & Boston, pp. 123-145.

Oertzen (von), C. 2014, Science, Gender, and Internationalism: Women's Academic Networks, 1917 – 1955, Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History, Basingstoke.

Oreskes, N. 1996, ‘Objectivity or Heroism? On the Invisibility of Women in Science’, Osiris, vol. 11, pp. 87-113.

Paul, H. 2016, ‘Sources of the Self. Scholarly Personae as Repertoires of Scholarly Selfhood’, BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, vol. 131, no. 4, pp. 135-154.

Rayner-Canham, M.F., Rayner-Canham, G.W. 1997, A devotion to their science : pioneer women of radioactivity, McGill- Queen’s University Press, Montreal & Kingston.

Rentetzi, M. 2004, ‘Women Scholars and Institutions: Introduction’, in S. Strbanoca, I.H. Stamhuis, K. Mojsejova (eds.), Women Scholars and Institutions. Proceedings of the international conference, Research Centre for the History of Sciences and Humanities, Prague, pp. 581-589.

Rossiter, M.W. 1984. Women scientists in America, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Rossiter, M.W. 1997, ‘Which Science? Which Women?’, Osiris, Vol. 12, pp. 169-185.

Shank, J.B. 2015, ‘Les figures du savant, de la Renaissance au siècle des Lumières’, in D. Pestre (ed.), Histoire des sciences et des savoirs. Tome 1, Editions du Seuil, Paris, pp. 43-65.

Shapin, S. 1994, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Schiebinger, L. 1989, The Mind Has No Sex? Women in the Origins of Modern Science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Skonhoft, L. 1934, Types of University Training, Lie&Co, Oslo.

Spier, R., 2002. ‘The history of the peer-review process’, Trends in Biotechnology, Vol. 20, no. 8, pp.357–358.

Tournès, L. 2010, L'argent de l'influence: les fondations américaines et leurs réseaux européens, Autrement, Paris.

Tryon, R. W. 1957, Investment in Creative Scholarship: A History of the Fellowship Program of the American Association of University Women, 1890-1956, AAUW, Washington D.C.

Walton, W. 2010, Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad: France and the United States, 1890-1970, Stanford University Press, Stanford.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/ps2018vol4no1art687

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License | ISSN 2205-5258