Article ID: CBB001420019

Are Women Naturally Devoted Mothers? Fabre, Perrier, and Giard on Maternal Instinct in France under the Third Republic (2014)


This paper examines some of the debates over maternal instinct in France under the Third Republic. It focuses on the work of three naturalists (Fabre, Perrier, and Giard) and shows how these scientists shaped, reinforced, or challenged feminine identities as well as a number of sexual social conventions making constant reference to the natural as their authority. This paper highlights these scientists' views on womanhood and maternity and their stances on contemporary feminist discourses as well as seeking to establish the extent to which these views and stances influenced their scientific discourses and practices. It also aims to demonstrate the interpenetration of science and policy, not only in terms of the transfer of political concepts into the scientific domain (and back again), but also as a joint construction process, which produced a new political and natural order in nineteenth century France.

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Authors & Contributors
Cohen, Lizabeth
Kloppenberg, James
Conry, Yvette
Sibeud, Emmanuelle
Reis, Elizabeth
Ansart, Guillaume
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Eighteenth-Century Studies
American Quarterly
Journal of the History of Sexuality
Women's History Review
Johns Hopkins University Press
Texas Tech University Press
McGill-Queen's University Press
Fordham University Press
Harvard University
Nordic Academic Press
Science and gender
Gender identity
Social sciences
Science and politics
Mothers and children
Giard, Alfred
Perrier, Edmond
Condorcet, Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de
Loveling, Virginie
Comte, Auguste
Mill, John Stuart
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
17th century
United States
Great Britain

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