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Gender and Fieldwork at the Bermuda Biological Station, 1903-1932

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Abstract:

In modern biology, the local and global intersect in biological field stations. Recent scholarship in the history of science has shown that marine research stations have supported long-term, in situ research that produces generalizable scientific knowledge. Yet, understanding how gender functions in the field, especially in the context of the historical discrimination against women in academic science, remains unclear. This paper examines the Bermuda Biological Station for Research and argues that its history reveals new and important connections between the global dimensions of fieldwork and gender. While many field sites like the Dry Tortugas cultivated masculine cultures of science, the Bermuda Biological Station – co-founded by American biologists and the tourism-minded Bermuda Natural History Society – functioned more as a scientific resort. Unable to secure land due to British colonial politics, the Bermuda Biological Station occupied a sequence of full-service tourist hotels, aligned itself with the Anglo-American summer holiday set, and struggled to balance its scientific ambitions with its recreational infrastructure. This paper shows how its founding scientists navigated competing claims to the marine environment: Harvard’s physiologist E. L. Mark saw Bermuda’s wealth of marine invertebrates as a source for experimental investigations in the summer laboratory, while New York University’s Charles L. Bristol touted the island’s natural history, coral reef ecosystem, and easy access to tropical fish for the American aquarium and museum market. Due to these internal conflicts, the Bermuda station welcomed a surprisingly diverse group of practitioners from graduate students studying zoology to secondary school teachers, private educators, and motivated leisure travelers with varying levels of expertise. Most significantly, the Bermuda Biological Station became a popular destination for women botanists and zoologists who were excluded from more established American marine stations and who took advantage of the more fluidly gendered scientific culture in Bermuda to pursue advanced training.
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Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170856_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Tonn, Jenna. "Gender and Fieldwork at the Bermuda Biological Station, 1903-1932" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, Mar 29, 2017 <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170856_index.html>

APA Citation:

Tonn, J. , 2017-03-29 "Gender and Fieldwork at the Bermuda Biological Station, 1903-1932" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170856_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In modern biology, the local and global intersect in biological field stations. Recent scholarship in the history of science has shown that marine research stations have supported long-term, in situ research that produces generalizable scientific knowledge. Yet, understanding how gender functions in the field, especially in the context of the historical discrimination against women in academic science, remains unclear. This paper examines the Bermuda Biological Station for Research and argues that its history reveals new and important connections between the global dimensions of fieldwork and gender. While many field sites like the Dry Tortugas cultivated masculine cultures of science, the Bermuda Biological Station – co-founded by American biologists and the tourism-minded Bermuda Natural History Society – functioned more as a scientific resort. Unable to secure land due to British colonial politics, the Bermuda Biological Station occupied a sequence of full-service tourist hotels, aligned itself with the Anglo-American summer holiday set, and struggled to balance its scientific ambitions with its recreational infrastructure. This paper shows how its founding scientists navigated competing claims to the marine environment: Harvard’s physiologist E. L. Mark saw Bermuda’s wealth of marine invertebrates as a source for experimental investigations in the summer laboratory, while New York University’s Charles L. Bristol touted the island’s natural history, coral reef ecosystem, and easy access to tropical fish for the American aquarium and museum market. Due to these internal conflicts, the Bermuda station welcomed a surprisingly diverse group of practitioners from graduate students studying zoology to secondary school teachers, private educators, and motivated leisure travelers with varying levels of expertise. Most significantly, the Bermuda Biological Station became a popular destination for women botanists and zoologists who were excluded from more established American marine stations and who took advantage of the more fluidly gendered scientific culture in Bermuda to pursue advanced training.


Similar Titles:
Gendering Intelligence: On the Misuse of Biological Determinism in Explaining Gender Inequalities in Education


 
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