I’ll probably be labeled a misogynist pig for even bringing this paper to the attention of our readers, but there are just some things that just deserve to be called “crazy”. When I first saw this, I thought it might be a parody, or an old April Fools joke. Sadly, no. The abstract from this publication Progress in Human Geography reads:
Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research
Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.
h/t to Richard Saumarez
Like me, you are probably wondering what a “feminist glaciology framework” is
Through a review and synthesis of a multi-disciplinary and wide-ranging literature on human-ice relations, this paper proposes a feminist glaciology framework to analyze human-glacier dynamics, glacier narratives and discourse, and claims to credibility and authority of glaciological knowledge through the lens of feminist studies. As a point of departure, we use ‘glaciology’ in an encompassing sense that exceeds the immediate scientific meanings of the label, much as feminist critiques of geography, for example, have expanded what it is that ‘geography’ might mean vis-a`-vis geographic knowledge (Domosh, 1991; Rose, 1993). As such, feminist glaciology has four aspects: (1) knowledge producers, to decipher how gender affects the individuals producing glacierrelated knowledges; (2) gendered science and knowledge, to address how glacier science, perceptions, and claims to credibility are gendered; (3) systems of scientific domination, to analyze how power, domination, colonialism, and control – undergirded by and coincident with masculinist ideologies – have shaped glacier-related sciences and knowledges over time; and (4) alternative representations, to illustrate diverse methods and ways – beyond the natural sciences and including what we refer to as ‘folk glaciologies’ – to portray glaciers and integrate counter-narratives into broader conceptions of the cryosphere. These four components of feminist glaciology not only help to critically uncover the under-examined history of glaciological knowledge and glacier-related sciences prominent in today’s climate change discussions. The framework also has important implications for understanding vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience – all central themes in global environmental change research and decision-making that have lacked such robust analysis of epistemologies and knowledge production (Conway et al., 2014; Castree et al., 2014).
The funding source didn’t surprise me:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work is based upon work supported by the US National Science Foundation under grant #1253779.
So, the gist of this paper can be summed up in this statement:
Most existing glaciological research – and hence discourse and discussions about cryospheric change – stems from information produced by men, about men, with manly characteristics, and within masculinist discourses. These characteristics apply to scientific disciplines beyond glaciology; there is an explicit need to uncover the role of women in the history of science and technology, while also exposing processes for excluding women from science and technology.
Those darn manly men with their masculinist discourses! But, I digress.
It would seem to me that given a choice of going to a remote and bitterly cold place, where you have to live in harsh minimalist conditions, with little human contact for months, just doesn’t appeal to many women, hence creating this perceived “bias” or lack of “feminine glaciology”. After all, millions of husbands and wives battle over the home thermostat setting daily. However, if somebody wants to break through the “ice ceiling” of glaciology, I nominate my Internet stalker Miriam O’Brien, aka “Sou”/Hotwhopper who could be a
groundbreaking icebreaking leader by going to live on a glacier for a year so she can study it. I might actually pay to see that.