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Stinks and Bangs: Hobby Science in Gendered Spaces

In cities, basements and attics were pressed into service as retreats for amateur scientists; in suburbs and rural areas male hobbyists insulated family members from their “stinks and bangs” by colonizing garages, sheds, barns, and even former chicken coops as recreational work spaces. Hobby workspaces for girls and women, however, were almost never intended as scientific retreats, and were integrated into the household as sewing rooms and adjuncts to the kitchen. This gender segregation of hobby science has, in many cases, persisted into the 21st century as an almost invisible obstacle to introducing girls and women to the pleasures of science.

Date: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm

Location: Bush Memorial - Troy Campus

Contact: Michael Baumgardner, 244-2207, baumgm@sage.edu

Title of event: Stinks and Bangs: Hobby Science in Gendered Spaces

Speaker:

Rachel Maines, Ph.D.

Description: 

Hobbies in the United States and Britain co-evolved with 20th-century living spaces, especially single-family residences for the white middle class.  Scientific hobbies associated primarily with men and boys, such as photography, amateur chemistry, junior rocketry, model railroading, electronics, automobile mechanics, and carpentry tended to create domestic disamenities in the form of loud noises, penetrating and sometimes poisonous stenches, fire hazards, and ever-expanding clutters of tools, materials and projects finished and unfinished.  In cities, basements and attics were pressed into service as retreats for amateur scientists;  in suburbs and rural areas male hobbyists insulated family members from their “stinks and bangs” by colonizing garages, sheds, barns, and even former chicken coops as recreational work spaces.  Hobby workspaces for girls and women, however, were almost never intended as scientific retreats, and were integrated into the household as sewing rooms and adjuncts to the kitchen.  This gender segregation of hobby science has, in many cases, persisted into the 21st century as an almost invisible obstacle to introducing girls and women to the pleasures of science.​​

Date and time: 10/22 at 1:00 p.m.

Location: Bush Memorial

No Cost/Open to Public

Michael Baumgardner; 518-244-2207; baumgm@sage.edu