Carla Bittel, history professor, was awarded a $99,279 grant
to fund a project titled "The Science of Women’s Rights." Bittel was
awarded the grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and
Society Program to study a central figure in the history of medicine.
Bittel’s project will provide historians of gender and
science with the first full-length study of Mary Putnam Jacobi, a practitioner
of scientific medicine in late 19th century America, whose work illustrates how
women used specific knowledge in their pursuit of equality.
Bittel’s objective is to investigate the relationship
between science and women’s rights activism and to study Jacobi’s biological
knowledge. The project will deepen our understanding of women physicians and
the politics of women’s health in late 19th century America. It will also provide
important historical context for current debates about gender differences and
the representation of women in scientific fields.
According to Birute Vileisis, director of sponsored projects
at LMU who helps faculty in their search for funding, this is the first major
grant given by the NSF to a Bellarmine
College faculty member.
"I am truly honored to have an NSF grant because such awards provide
critical support for historians who study science in social and historical
contexts," said Carla Bittel.
"The Science of Women’s Rights" will be a teaching
tool to better understand the history of women in the scientific disciplines.
The research will provide a unique opportunity for LMU to integrate
interdisciplinary methods and subject matters into the curriculum. The project
may also help broaden the participation of women in the sciences by providing
historical perspective on current debates about women practitioners, sex
differences and female cognition.