Sandra G. Harding (born 1935) is an American philosopher of feminist
and postcolonial theory, epistemology, research methodology, and
philosophy of science. She taught for two decades at the University of
Delaware before moving to the
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles in
1996. She directed the
UCLA Center for the Study of Women from 1996 to
2000, and co-edited Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
from 2000 to 2005. She is currently a Distinguished Professor Emeritus
of Education and Gender Studies at UCLA and a Distinguished
Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. In
2013 she was awarded the
John Desmond Bernal Prize by the Society for
the Social Studies of Science (4S). (Earlier recipients of this prize
include Robert Merton, Thomas S. Kuhn, Mary Douglas, and Joseph
She has developed the research standard of “strong objectivity,”
and contributed to the articulation of standpoint methodology. This
kind of research process starts off from questions that arise in the
daily lives of people in oppressed groups. To answer such questions,
it “studies up”, examining the principles, practices and cultures
of dominant institutions, from the design and management of which
oppressed groups have been excluded. She has also contributed to the
development of feminist, anti-racist, multicultural, and postcolonial
studies of the natural and social sciences, asking the extent to which
paradigms like feminist empiricism are useful for promoting to goals
of feminist inquiry. She is the author or editor of many books and
essays on these topics, and was one of the founders of the fields of
feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. This work has been
influential in the social sciences and in women/gender studies across
the disciplines. It has helped to create new kinds of discussions
about how best to relink scientific research to pro-democratic goals.
She has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam, the
University of Costa Rica, the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology, and the Asian Institute of Technology. She has been a
consult to several
United Nations organizations including the Pan
American Health Organization, UNESCO, the U.N. Commission on Science
and Technology for Development, and the U.N. Development Fund for
Women. Phi Beta Kappa selected her as a national lecturer in 2007. She
has lectured at over 300 colleges, universities, and conferences, on
During what is known now as the "Science Wars", she was part of a
debate regarding the value-neutrality of the sciences. This aspect of
her work has been criticized by the mathematicians Michael
Sullivan, Mary Gray, and Lenore Blum, and by the historian of
science Ann Hibner Koblitz.
Harding referred to Newton's Principia Mathematica as a "rape manual"
in her 1986 book "The Science Question in Feminism", a
characterization that she later said she regretted.
1 Education and career
2 Awards, honors, and fellowships
4 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
Education and career
Sandra Harding received her undergraduate degree from Douglass College
of Rutgers University in 1956. After 12 years working as legal
researcher, editor, and fifth-grade math teacher in New York City and
Poughkeepsie, N.Y., she returned to graduate school and earned a
doctorate from the Department of Philosophy at
New York University
New York University in
Her first university teaching job was at The Allen Center of the State
University of New York at Albany, an experimental critical social
sciences college which was “defunded” by the state of New York in
1976. She then joined the Department of Philosophy at the University
of Delaware, with a joint appointment to the Women’s Studies
Program. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1979, and to full
Professor in 1986. From 1981 until she left Delaware in 1996, she held
a Joint Appointment to the Department of Sociology. She was Director
of the Women’s Studies Program at Delaware 1985-91 and 1992-93.
From 1994 to 1996 she was Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and
Women’s Studies at UCLA on a half-time basis. In 1996 she was
appointed Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, which is
a research institute. She held that position until 2000. Meanwhile,
since 1996 she has been a Professor in the Graduate Department of
Education and the Department of Gender Studies at UCLA. In 2012 she
was appointed Distinguished Professor of Education and Gender Studies.
From 2000 to 2005 she also was co-editor of Signs: Journal of Women in
Culture and Society.
She has held Visiting Professor appointments at the University of
University of Costa Rica
University of Costa Rica (1990), the Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) (1987), and the Asian Institute
of Technology, Bangkok (1994). In 2011 she was appointed a
Distinguished Affiliate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at
Michigan State University, East Lansing.
She has been a consultant to several
United Nations organizations
including the U.N. Commission on Science and Technology for
Development, the Pan American Health Organization, UNESCO, and the
U.N. Development Fund for Women. She was invited to co-edit a chapter
of UNESCO’s World Science Report 1996 on “The Gender Dimension of
Science and Technology:” This 56 page account was the first such
attempt to bring gender issues in science and technology to such a
global-scale and prestigious context. She was invited to contribute a
chapter to UNESCO’s World Social Science Report 2010 on
“Standpoint Methodologies and Epistemologies: a Logic of Scientific
Inquiry for People.”
She has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals in the
fields of philosophy, women’s studies, science studies, social
research methodology, and African philosophy. She has lectured at more
than 300 colleges, universities, and conferences in North America as
well as in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Her books, essays
and book chapters have been translated into dozens of languages and
reprinted in hundreds of anthologies.
The gender, race, colonial and postcolonial issues on which she has
focused have been controversial within scholarly circles. They
have also reached popular awareness during several episodes of the
“culture wars.” The John Birch Society wrote to the President of
University of Delaware
University of Delaware in 1981 objecting to her employment there
because she was sponsoring lectures that provided class perspectives
on U.S. history. During the “Science Wars” of the 1990s, her work
became a main target of criticisms of feminist, sociological, and
postmodern approaches to understanding how the natural sciences and
their particular historical surrounding social orders (pro- and anti-
democratic) have provided intellectual and political resources for
each other. Her essay on “Science is ‘Good to Think With’”
was the lead article in the issue of the journal
Social Text that also
included the Sokal Hoax, which focused on her work among others. Her
work was also a main target of Paul Gross and Norman Levitt’s Higher
Awards, honors, and fellowships
John Desmond Bernal Prize of Society for the Social
Studies of Science (4S).
2012. Appointed Distinguished Professor of Education and Gender
2011. Appointed Distinguished Affiliate Professor of Philosophy,
Michigan State University, East Lansing
American Education Research Association (AERA) Award
for Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education
2007-08. Appointed as a Phi Beta Kappa National Lecturer.
2007. Awarded The Douglass (College) Society Membership.
2000-05 Co-editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
1990 Woman Philosopher of the Year, Eastern Division Society for Women
1989. Elected to membership in Sigma Xi.
(ed.), Can Theories be Refuted? Essays on the Duhem-Quine Thesis,
The Science Question in Feminism, 1986.
with Jean F. O'Barr (ed.), Sex and Scientific Inquiry, 1987.
(ed.), Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues, 1987.
Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?: Thinking from Women's Lives, 1991.
(ed.), The ‘Racial’ Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic
Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and
with Uma Narayan (ed.), Decentering the Center: Philosophy for a
Multicultural, Postcolonial, and Feminist World, 2000.
with Robert Figueroa (ed.), Science and Other Cultures: Issues in
Philosophies of Science and Technology, 2003.
with Merrill B. Hintikka (ed.), Discovering Reality: Feminist
Perspectives on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology, and Philosophy
of Science. Second Edition, 2003 (1983).
(ed.), Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader, 2004.
Science and Social Inequality: Feminist and Postcolonial Issues, 2006.
Sciences From Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities,
(ed.), The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader, Duke UP
Objectivity and Diversity: Another Logic of Scientific Research, 2015.
“Objectivity and Diversity” Encyclopedia of Diversity in
Education, ed. James Banks. Thousand Oaks: Sage 2012.
“Standpoint Methodologies and Epistemologies: A Logic of Scientific
Inquiry for People,”
UNESCO World Social Science Report, Paris:
United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO), 2010. 173-175.
“Postcolonial and Feminist Philosophies of Science and Technology:
Convergences and Dissonances,” in Postcolonial Studies, Vol 12, No.
4, p. 410-429, 2009.
“Rethinking standpoint epistemology: What is "strong
objectivity"?” in Cudd, Ann E.; Andreasen, Robin O. (2005). Feminist
theory: a philosophical anthology. Oxford, UK Malden, Massachusetts:
Blackwell Publishing. pp. 218–236.
“Women, Science, and Society”, Science September 11, 1998.
“Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What is ‘Strong
Objectivity’” in Feminist Epistemologies, ed. Linda Alcoff and
Elizabeth Potter. New York: Routledge, 1992.
“Feminism, Science, and the Anti-Enlightenment Critiques,” in
Feminism/Postmodernism, ed. Linda Nicholson. New York:
Methuen/Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988. 83-106.
List of American philosophers
^ a b c d e f g h i , Sandra Harding's GSEIS Profile.
^ Sullivan, M.C. (1996) A Mathematician Reads Social Text, AMS Notices
^ Mary Gray, "Gender and mathematics: Mythology and Misogyny," in Gila
Hanna, ed., Towards Gender Equity in Mathematics Education: An ICMI
Study, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996.
^ Lenore Blum, "AWM's first twenty years: The presidents'
perspectives," in Bettye Anne Case and Anne M. Leggett, eds.,
Complexities: Women in Mathematics, Princeton University Press, 2005,
^ Ann Hibner Koblitz, "A historian looks at gender and science,"
International Journal of Science Education, vol. 9 (1987), p. 399-407.
^ Nemecek, S. (1997) The Furor Over Feminist Science, Scientific
American 276(1), 99-100.
^ Steiner, Linda (2014), "Sandra Harding: the less false accounts of
feminist standpoint epistemology", in Hannan, Jason, Philosophical
profiles in the theory of communication, New York: Peter Lang,
pp. 261–289, ISBN 9781433126345.
^ [Harding, Sandra. “Science is ‘Good to Think With’” in The
Science Wars, ed. Andrew Ross. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
^ [Gross, Paul and Norman Levitt. Higher Superstition: The Academic
Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1994.],
^ [Hart, Roger. “The Flight From Reason:
Higher Superstition and the
Refutation of Science Studies,” in The Science Wars, ed. Andrew
Ross. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. 1996.]
Callahan, Joan and Nancy Tuana. “Feminist Philosophy Interview
Project: Feminist Philosophers In Their Own Words”
Harding, Sandra. 2002. “Philosophy as Work and Politics,” in The
Philosophical I: Personal Reflections on Life in Philosophy, ed.
George Yancy. Lanham Mass: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 23-42
Hinterberger, Amy. 2013. “Curating postcolonial critique”, Social
Studies of Science 43(4) 619-627. (Review of The Postcolonial Science
and Technology Studies Reader.)
Hirsch, Elizabeth and Gary A. Olson “Starting From Marginalized
Lives A Conversation with Sandra Harding,” JAC 15:2. (1995).
Marsan, Loren. 2008. ”Thinking from Women’s Lives: Sandra Harding,
Standpoint, and Science.” Video.
Richardson, Sarah S. 2010. “
Feminist philosophy of science: history,
contributions, and challenges,” Synthese 177:337-362.
Rooney, Phyllis. 2007. “The Marginalization of Feminist Epistemology
and What That Reveals About
Epistemology ‘Proper’”. In Feminist
Epistemology and Philosophy of Science Power in Knowledge., ed. Heidi
Grasswick. Dordrecht: Springer.
Steiner, Linda (2014), "Sandra Harding: the less false accounts of
feminist standpoint epistemology", in Hannan, Jason, Philosophical
profiles in the theory of communication, New York: Peter Lang,
pp. 261–289, ISBN 9781433126345
"Starting from Marginalized Lives: A Conversation with Sandra Harding"
by Elizabeth Hirsh and Gary A. Olson JAC 15.2, Spring 1995.
"Women, Science, and Society" by Sandra Harding, Science, September
Sandra G. Harding Papers - Pembroke Center Archives, Brown University
International relations (Constructivism)
Simone de Beauvoir
Diana E. H. Russell
Dorothy E. Smith
Women's studies journals
ISNI: 0000 0001 1081 7178
BNF: cb12212794k (data)