Patriotic Women: Chemistry and Gender in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish World

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Abstract

During the second half of the eighteenth century, Western countries witnessed an explosion of societies and publishing initiatives aimed at creating and disseminating what contemporaries called useful knowledge. These “economic societies,” “societies of friends of the country,” or “societies of improvers” sought to improve their local communities through the scientific management of natural and social resources. This article analyses the opportunities that this movement of patriots opened up for women in chemistry, who went from being “exceptional women” to representing themselves as female “friends of the country.” This article shows the different ways in which these women “friends of the country” negotiated their authorship, agency, and public visibility in order to maintain gender conventions and the importance of their kinship networks. It also illustrates the other side of the coin: how women’s contributions also benefited male scientific societies, which gained visibility and secured the social position of their members in enlightened circles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-261
JournalAmbix
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2022

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