Tag Archives: monkeys

The Personal, The Emotional, The Sexual

“How could primatology not be a territory of feminist struggle? Western women’s place is indeed in the jungle. Whether other women and men occupy that material/mythic space when they watch monkeys and apes is a function of other histories and other stories.” (Haraway, 1984)

I am currently close to completion of the second-to-last taught module of my master’s programme: Family Hominidae and Other Primates. I was distracted at the outset of this module by my lack of primatological knowledge…. What is the primate family tree? What are the old and new world monkeys? Must I really tackle Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species? One symptom of my CFS/ME-induced cognitive issues is a preoccupation with details. But I’m happy to say I moved on fairly swiftly as we progressed through the weekly topics, and didn’t dwell for too long on my inability to retain hundreds of latin taxonomical terms…

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macaque. image from pixabay.

We will complete two assignments for this module: an academic poster critiquing a study, and a longer essay on the topic of our choice. Now, an abundance of choice is something that throws up barriers to me every time too; I know that I tend to prevaricate terribly and often change my mind multiple times when it comes to the subject matter. But I also know that choosing an essay question too soon might preclude a topic covered later on in the schedule that absolutely has me gripped. Blessedly, the issue was avoided entirely as I found one question nagging at me throughout the first few weeks of the course: what is the importance of the contribution of women scientists to the field of primatology? Unusually, the most well-known of all primatologists are women (Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey) and many women, whilst not so ‘famous’, continue to contribute to the field: more so than in many other sciences. Continue reading

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