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A Mind of her Own: Helene Metzger to Emile Meyerson, 1933

Chimisso, Cristina and Freudenthal, Gad (2003). A Mind of her Own: Helene Metzger to Emile Meyerson, 1933. Isis, 94(3) pp. 477–491.

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In May 1933 the historian of chemistry Hélène Metzger addressed a letter to the renowned historian and philosopher of science Émile Meyerson, a cri de coeur against Meyerson's patronizing attitude toward her. This recently discovered letter is published and translated here because it is an exceptional human document reflecting the gender power structure of our discipline in interwar France. At the age of forty-three, and with five books to her credit, Metzger was still a junior scholar in the exclusively male community of French historians and philosophers of science. We sketch the institutional setting of higher learning in France at the time, noting the limited openings it offered to would-be femmes savantes, and situate Metzger in this context. We also describe the philosophical differences between Metzger and Meyerson. Though Metzger never managed to obtain a post of her own, in her letter to Meyerson she forcefully lays claim, at least, to a mind of her own.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1545-6994
Keywords: Metzger; Meyerson; France; history of science; women's history
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 3315
Depositing User: Cristina Chimisso
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 23:25
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