Questioning Knowledge Practices
Anindita Majumdar
FEMINISTS AND SCIENCE: CRITIQUES AND CHANGING PERSPECTIVES IN INDIA, VOL. 2 by Sumi Krishna and Gita Chadha Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2018, 329 pp., 895
January 2018, volume 42, No 1

The book under review examines the ways in which science, science education, science praxis and its representation is loud in its absence of women within its narrative. The lack of women in science does not mean they do not exist, or occupy an important space within its disciplinary boundaries. In fact as the book suggests, through its 15 chapters, women are the reason the scientific boundaries are constantly being challenged. The book’s strength lies in the questioning of the knowledge practices embedded in science which follow in excluding women from science in ways that either relegate them to minor positions, or diminish their contributions. Through the chapters the different authors provoke an analysis of epistemic positions within science that continue to exclude and devalue women’s contribution to knowledge creation. In Kanchana Mahadevan’s piece, feminist criticism of scientific logic through the analysis of Longino, the author suggests a deeper engagement with feminist epistemology itself. Mahadevan is critical of the feminist assertion that tries to critique abstract theoretical reasoning as masculine, by placing experiential theory as more gender inclusive. Here, the importance of local community knowledge cannot be discounted.

The feminist criticism of scientific empiricism tends to idolize local knowledge as the way forward for science and feminism, but ignores the diversity of experiences within local community practices itself.

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