vol 21 - 1995

Feminist scholarship has long recognized the provisional nature of its hypotheses; changing contexts have moved us to new inquiries. The essays in this issue ask new questions in several fields as they consider the relationship of gender to both the body and the body politic.

We begin this issue with a cluster of works on women's bodies in health and illness that question the very definitions of such terms and interrogate their applications in masculinist science and feminist thought. Our opening essay, Susan E. Bell's "Gendered Medical Science: Producing a Drug for Women," uses early data on diethylstilbestrol (DES), the first synthetic estrogen, which was first used experimentally in the United States as a treatment for symptoms of menopause. By analyzing questionnaires distributed to physicians participating in clinical research before the 1940s, Bell is able to show the way in which medical science read women's symptoms not as side effects of DES but as signs of a menopausal pathology, thereby constructing female physiology through a paradigm of illness for which DES became not a danger but a cure. At a time when estrogen replacement therapies are under discussion, Bell's research suggests the complex interactions between medicine and social discourse that continue to structure both research and personal lives.


Order this issue (print)


Order this issue (print)

Susan E. Bell
Gendered Medical Science: Producing a
Drug for Women

Judith Kegan Gardiner
Can Ms. Prozac Talk Back? Feminism,
Drugs, and Social Constructionism
(Review Essay)

Frances Webb
Four Stories: Search; A Question;
A Discovery; Hope
Listen to streaming audio

Nancy Fried
Art Essay

Angela Bourke
Reading a Woman's Death:
Colonial Text and Oral Tradition in
Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Susan Brown
Alternatives to the Missionary Position:
Anna Leonowens as Victorian Travel Writer

Elaine Maria Upton
Born to the Struggle, Learning to Write:
An Interview with Lindiwe Mabuza

Lindiwe Mabuza
For Quincy (Poetry)

Elaine Maria Upton
story; South Africa/Azania (Poetry)

Maxine Molyneux
Gendered Transitions in Eastern Europe (Review Essay)

Hideko Nornes Abe
From Stereotype to Context: The Study of
Japanese Women's Speech

Down Up
Down Down