Lec. 4.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Women and Gender Studies

WGS - Lec. 4 -Sample critiques/biology test on reserve in library II. Anthropomorphic Circularity Anthropomorphic – taking human attributes and giving it to non-human species. Using it as a lens as a way to think about bird behaviour. Ex) some ducks rape females, see female birds have equivalent of female PMS (avian) which means since animals have it, means it is natural for human females to have it too. Also example of how women’s body is closer to nature. What happens in naturalism then is not getting rid of context, but saying everything in organisms, molecular biology, biochemical, genes, and etc, is natural. Therefore things like race, personal relationships, class location, cultures, nation, historical location, sexuality/identity etc is natural - When working only with Darwin’s theory of evolution hard to explain things like peacock’s tale - Important to note following 7 general themes for III. Central Themes in the Darwin Excerpt 1) Natural history is possible – reproduce through sperm and ova, notion possible to give natural history of sex independent of culture, society, economic location, basically attempting to give history of human being that is just biological in history - Somewhat reductionist - Darwin arguing against centuries of thinking of spirituality - Radical claim - Possible do biologic in a reductionist way - Race itself is biological category, used image of racial family tree suggesting it is a natural growth - Bottom is most primitive at the very top is Aryans (Caucasian Europeans) - Argument white skull must fully developed 2) Concept of “fittedness”; parallel to breeding – fittedness has to do with surviving in a sufficiently flourishing way to be able to have offspring -if particular species fitted survives over time - seen as natural - breeding for better fittedness 3) Concept of social instinct and moral being; The “naturalness” of Ethnocentrism – live biologically in community, and in relation to the people -feel closet and most loyal those who are in our ethnic group, or local social community 4) Thesis of Superior, Natural Races: Identifying Marks – notion white European male skeleton most evolved/developed human being -there are ways to identify naturally superior groups - Naturalization of white male supremacy -evolutionary argument: white males most evolved 5) Definition of: Natural Selection, Sexual Selection – - Natural selection depends on success of both sexes at all ages in relation to general conditions of life. Depends basically on species survival - Used in terms of species vs species, as well as individuals vs individuals to gain control of scarce resources - Claim made all living organisms that reproduce sexually we are continually scanning to see who is going to optimal reproducer, only way in which we can pass on genes - Claim sex and gender behaviour and disposition all tied up to this quest to produce offspring Sexual Selection: - depends on success on certain individuals over others of the same sex in relation to
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