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Special Issue: Histories of Women, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology

Elizabeth Scarborough

The Summer 2017 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is a special issue devoted to “Histories of Women, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology.” Guest edited by Alexandra Rutherford, the issue both celebrates the intellectual legacy of Elizabeth Scarborough (1935-2015) and marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Scarborough and Laurel Furumoto’s seminal volume Untold Lives: The First Generation of American Women Psychologists. Full details below.

“‘The difference being a woman made’ Untold Lives in personal and intellectual context,” by Alexandra Rutherford and Katharine Milar. Abstract:

To mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of Scarborough and Furumoto’s classic work Untold Lives, and to honor the intellectual legacy of Elizabeth Scarborough (1935–2015), we introduce this special issue devoted to the histories of women, gender, and feminism in psychology. We provide a short biographical sketch of Elizabeth, highlighting her own marriage-career dilemma, then contextualize the publication of Untold Lives within the historiography on women in psychology at that time. We conclude by discussing intersectionality as an analytic framework for the history of psychology as a way to extend and enrich this historiography.

“‘Making better use of U.S. women’: Psychology, sex roles, and womanpower in post-WWII America,” by Alexandra Rutherford. Abstract:

The relationship between American psychology and gender ideologies in the two decades following World War II was complicated and multivalent. Although many psy-professionals publicly contributed to the cult of domesticity that valorized women’s roles as wives and mothers, other psychologists, many of them women, reimagined traditional sex roles to accommodate and deproblematize the increasing numbers of women at work, especially working mothers. In this article, I excavate and highlight the contributions of several of these psychologists, embedding their efforts in the context of the paradoxical expectations for women that colored the postwar and increasingly Cold War landscape of the United States. By arguing that conflict was inherent in the lives of both women and men, that role conflict (when it did occur) was a cultural, not intrapsychic, phenomenon, and that maternal employment itself was not damaging to children or families, these psychologists connected the work of their first-wave, first-generation forebears with that of the explicitly feminist psychologists who would come after them.

“Balancing life and work by unbending gender: Early American women psychologists’ struggles and contributions,” by Elizabeth Johnston and Ann Johnson. Abstract: Continue reading Special Issue: Histories of Women, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology

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