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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Men, Science, Travel and Nature in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Cape
Author:Beinart, WilliamISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
Subjects:gender relations
natural history
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
About person:Mary Elizabeth Bowker Barber (British)(1818-1899)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637474
Abstract:Ecofeminist writing has reevaluated the Western scientific revolution as an essentially male enterprise which classified and exploited nature, as well as facilitating the domination of women and colonized peoples. In particular Mary Louise Pratt's 'Imperial eyes: travel writing and transculturation' (1992), an analysis of European travelogues and scientific writing on the extra-European world in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, contains powerful insights into how men dominated most scientific enterprise, as well as exploration and the literature it produced, and how this facilitated metropolitan expansion. The present author argues that ecofeminist views seem to allow little space for variations in male identity, or for the role of men in developing alternative visions of social interaction and the natural world. He explores the extent to which scientific knowledge and classification was simply a metropolitan imposition; the complexity of masculinity expressed through travel and natural history writing; and conservationist rather than extractive impulses. He concludes with an assessment of Mary Barber's involvement in natural history at the Cape. She was one of the first women at the Cape to receive recognition as a naturalist scientist and her life illustrates that women's views about nature and indigenous people did not necessarily differ from those of the men amongst whom they worked. Notes, ref., sum.