Why should anyone care about long-dead 19th-century scientists’ thoughts about the differences between women and men? And what does such a paper have to say to our contemporary concerns? I believe that knowledge of this history is invaluable to the health and progress of feminist psychology. This history, when viewed through an intersectional lens, can give us insight into the complex way in which values can constrict research questions and methods, can narrow and oversimplify what counts as “data,” and can be used as a regressive instrument to shore up the sociocultural status quo. In this paper I first briefly review the context in which “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women” (hereinafter Functionalism/Darwinism) was written. Then I examine what the addition of an intersectionality perspective to that work adds to our understanding of the history of the psychology of women and gender. I focus on the intersection of gender and race (and briefly touch on social class) because these were critical to 19th-century scientific justifications for existing status and power relations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)