Naomi Weisstein

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This article is about the cognitive psychologist and feminist. For other persons with the surname, see Weisstein.

Naomi Weisstein (1939 – March 2015) was an American professor of psychology, neuroscientist, and author.

Weisstein was the daughter of Mary Menk and Samuel Weisstein. She graduated from Wellesley College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1961 and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1964. In 1964, she took a post-doctoral fellowship at the Committee on Mathematical Biology at the University of Chicago.[1] She taught at University of Chicago, Loyola University in Chicago, and at the State University of New York at Buffalo until the early 1980s, when she was stricken with chronic fatigue syndrome, which left her bedridden. She was married to radical historian Jesse Lemisch.[2]

Naomi Weisstein was Guggenheim Fellow[3] and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Society. She wrote over sixty articles for such publications as Science, Vision Research, Psychological Review and Journal of Experimental Psychology and served on the boards of Cognitive Psychology and Spatial Vision. In August 1970, along with Phyllis Chesler, Joanne Evans Gardner, and others, Naomi founded American Women in Psychology, now Division 35 of the American Psychological Association.

Weisstein is probably best known for her pioneering essay, "Kinder, Küche, Kirche as Scientific Law: Psychology Constructs the Female." The title is taken from the German slogan Kinder, Küche, Kirche meaning children, kitchen, church, describing what the Nazis believed was the proper domain of a woman. She wrote extensively on science, feminism, culture and politics. "Kinder, Kirche, Kuche" is characterized as having started the discipline of the psychology of women, and has been reprinted over 42 times in six different languages.[4] She applied growing research in social psychology of the importance of situational and interpersonal factors in affecting human behavior to women's behavior specifically.[5] She argued that psychology could not explain women's behavior without considering societal expectations for women and the environment women occupied.[5] She contributed the piece "Kinder, Küche, Kirche as Scientific Law: Psychology Constructs the Female" to the 1970 anthology Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings From The Women's Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan.[6]

Weisstein was an outspoken feminist, who wrote that she encountered sexism at every turn when she applied for teaching positions. She was one of the early feminist stand-up comedians, performing in Eve Merriam's One Woman Show.[7] She organized the Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band "to shake up the sexist world of pop music."[8] She also recorded with the New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band.[7]

Articles[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bell, Laura. "Profile". Psychology's Feminist Voices. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Lemish, Jesse; Weisstein, Naomi. "Remarks on Naomi Weisstein". Chicago Women's Liberal Union. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Naomi Weisstein". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Naomi Weisstein Biography". 
  5. ^ a b "A History of Modern Psychology in Context". 
  6. ^ "Sisterhood is powerful : an anthology of writings from the women's liberation movement (Book, 1970)". [WorldCat.org]. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  7. ^ a b "Jewish Women's Archive: Naomi Weisstein". 
  8. ^ "The Chicago Women's Liberation Union: An Introduction". 

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