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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Haskins, Kathryn [1], Norman, Chelsea [1], Fuselier, Linda [2].

The Amateur Tradition and Women's Participation in Bryology in the USA .

In the 19th Century, botany in the USA shifted from a discipline in which participation by untrained amateurs was considerable to a professionalized, elite scientific entity meant to distinguish serious from amateur pursuits. With options for scholarly training in botany, the term amateur designated a class of avocational collectors distinct from professional botanists. Professionals were identified by college degrees, occupation, publications, or affiliations with professional societies. However, in the early 19th century, it was uncommon for women to pursue or receive degrees in botany, much less garner invitations to publish or join professional scientific societies. Schteir (1996) argues that the professionalization of botany as an academic discipline in the 19th century resulted in the removal of its "practices from the world of domestic, family and personal relations" in which its history was grounded. In short, it distanced the discipline from the "realm of women and domains and practices marked feminine". Unlike the Botanical Society of America (BSA), which was founded upon the tenets of scientific professionalization, the American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS, founded only 5 years after BSA) never shut its doors to amateurs. We examined the participation of women in bryology and the ABLS using contributions to herbariums, publications and records of society membership. We argue that early participation by women such as Elizabeth Gertrude Britton and Annie Morril Smith was pivotal in maintaining the amateur tradition in bryology and thus encouraging women's participation in the field. However, despite the important herbarium contributions and strong influence and visibility of women in the early years of the society, women's participation in various aspects of the discipline has been cyclic. Recently, compared to BSA, numbers of women presidents in ABLS has declined, especially through the 1980's, despite increasing numbers of publications by women in The Bryologist.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Biology, 1104 7th Ave S, Moorhead, MN, 56563, USA
2 -

women in science
American Bryological and Lichenological Society

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PHS003
Abstract ID:635

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