SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF DISCOVERIES
VIRTUAL LECTURE SERIES
NOTE: The lecture scheduled for Central Time (US)
Gender and Antarctic Science and Exploration
Long conceptualized as a “world of men,” where stalwart scientists and daring adventurers committed stunning feats of bravery and endurance in search of knowledge, Antarctica was generally off limits to women until 1969, when they began slowly being integrated into various National Antarctic Programs. The men who did go there in earlier periods are still praised for exemplifying Western “manly” virtues. Antarctic bases created a culture that simultaneously reveled in the all-male dimension of their lives but were also obsessed with the specter of the absent women. This led to a circular justification for women’s continued exclusion; that they would disrupt the homosocial culture necessary for cohesive life on base and in the field. Today, this cultural legacy continues to create an atmosphere rife with sexual harassment and assault.
(Be advised: This presentation will include some nude images.)
Bio: Daniella McCahey is an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University, where she primarily teaches classes on Modern British Imperialism and the History of Science. She has published her research on the history of Antarctica in a variety of academic and popular venues and is the co-author of Antarctica: A History in 100 Objects (Conway 2022). While a student at the University of California, Irvine, she won the SHD Graduate Student Essay Prize.
13 November 1969: The first women set foot at the South Pole
Photo courtesy of the National Science Foundation
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