Terra incognita: Women on Royal Geographical Society-supported expeditions 1913-1970

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Evans, S. L. (2015) Terra incognita: Women on Royal Geographical Society-supported expeditions 1913-1970. PhD, University of the West of England. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25582

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Abstract/Description

Women’s expeditionary work, in common with women’s geographical work more broadly, has been comparatively understudied within the history of geographical thought and practice, and within the wider discipline, until relatively recently (Domosh 1991a, 1991b; Rose 1993; Maddrell 2009a). This thesis, completed for a Collaborative Doctoral Award between the University of the West of England, and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), charts this terra incognita, and presents a reconstructed historical geography of women’s participation in RGS-supported expeditions between 1913 and 1970, taking as its start date the permanent admission of women to the Fellowship of the RGS. Building on earlier substantive feminist research into women’s historic geographical and expeditionary work (Maddrell, 2009a), it presents a systematic survey of all applications for RGS support during this period, drawing on a range of sources from across the RGS archives and collections. Prior to this doctoral study, this material had not been investigated for this purpose or in great depth, nor was there a complete record of the RGS’s support of expeditionary work during this period: this thesis presents a new and original database which can be used to research these questions. Drawing on these original findings, and on the extensive literatures around feminist historical geography, feminist epistemologies, the historiography of geographical thought and practice, as well as the recent literature on mobilities, this thesis investigates how women negotiated the networks in, around, and beyond the RGS to gain support for their expeditionary work. In particular, it highlights the importance of women-focused networks and familial-social networks for gaining this support. It also uses their participation in and embodied experiences of RGS-supported expeditions, including their expeditionary (im)mobilities and expeditionary relationships, to complicate existing understandings of expeditions as a male-dominated space, form, and practice of geographical knowledge production, thereby investigating the relationships between gender, subjectivity, and expeditionary knowledge production. Finally, it considers the dissemination and reception of their expeditionary knowledges within the spaces of the RGS.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: women, Royal Geographical Society, expedition, exploring
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Geography and Environmental Management
Depositing User: S. Evans
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2015 11:01
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2019 19:46
URI: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/id/eprint/25582

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