German-born Marie Zakrzewska (1829-1902) was one of the most
prominent female physicians of nineteenth-century America. Best
known for creating a modern hospital and medical education program
for women, Zakrzewska battled against the gendering of science and
the restrictive definitions of her sex. In Science Has No
, Arleen Tuchman examines the life and work of a woman who
continues to challenge historians of gender to this day.
At a time when most women physicians laid claim to "female"
qualities of care and nurturance to justify their professional
choice, Zakrzewska insisted that all physicians, regardless of
gender, should depend upon the rational faculties developed through
training in the natural sciences. She viewed science as a
democratizing tool--anyone could master science, she asserted, and
therefore the doors to the elite profession of medicine should be
opened to all.
Shedding light on the changes that radically transformed medicine
in the late nineteenth century, Tuchman's analysis also
demonstrates how Zakrzewska's activism is important to the ongoing
debate over the relationship between science and sex.