Genders and Sexualities in History

Masculinity and Science in Britain, 1831–1918

Authors: Ellis, Heather

  • Offers an in depth-study of masculine self-fashioning within the scientific community in Britain
  • Explores the dynamic shifts in the public image of the British 'man of science'
  • Analyses the construction of the male scientist and its relation to British scientific culture
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eBook $79.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-31174-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for Brazil
  • ISBN 978-1-137-31173-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book offers the first in-depth study of the masculine self-fashioning of scientific practitioners in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. Focusing on the British Association for the Advancement of Science, founded in 1831, it explores the complex and dynamic shifts in the public image of the British ‘man of science’ and questions the status of the natural scientist as a modern masculine hero. Until now, science has been examined by cultural historians primarily for evidence about the ways in which scientific discourses have shaped prevailing notions about women and supported the growth of oppressive patriarchal structures. This volume, by contrast, offers the first in-depth study of the importance of ideals of masculinity in the construction of the male scientist and British scientific culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the eighteenth-century identification of the natural philosopher with the reclusive scholar, to early nineteenth-century attempts to reinvent the scientist as a fashionable gentleman, to his subsequent reimagining as the epitome of Victorian moral earnestness and meritocracy, Heather Ellis analyzes the complex and changing public image of the British ‘man of science’.



About the authors

Heather Ellis is Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Sheffield, UK. She researches the cultural history of higher education, science and gender. She is the author of Generational Conflict and University Reform: Oxford in the Age of Revolution (2012) which was awarded the 2014 Kevin Brehony prize by the History of Education Society UK. 

Reviews

“In shifting the focus of attention to men and away from feminine exclusion from science, this engaging text opens up new ground in the history of science and gender. Writing with clarity and authority, Ellis presents a powerful analysis that reveals the constructed and shifting nature of male scientific authority. At the same time, she reveals new and insightful perspectives on the history of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Masculinity and Science in Britain gives us a fresh and much needed contribution to the debate; it promises to become essential reading for historians of both gender and science.” (Claire Jones, University of Liverpool, UK)

“A thought provoking book which shatters the image of the nineteenth-century scientist as a direct descendant of Bacon, confident of his status and import, and exposes the key role anxieties about masculinity played in the various constructions of the “man of science”. Using the British Association for the Advancement of Science as the heart of the narrative, it describes the century-long struggle between competing constructions of this new figure - the “effeminate stereotype” of the recluse scholar, the gentleman scientist as represented by Humphry Davy, the “heroic”, self-disciplined, manly seeker after truth as imagined by Carlyle, and eventually the self-interested and self-promoting scientific entrepreneur. By the 1920s, the scientist had emerged not just as a “viable war hero” but more importantly, as a model of “masculine citizenship in peacetime.” (Dr Michèle Cohen, FRHS Emeritus Professor, Richmond University in London and Visiting Professor, UCL Institute of Education, University of London, UK)

Masculinity and Science in Britain, 1831–1918 questions assumptions long and widely held about the past security of male scientific authority. Using gender as a category of analysis, Heather Ellis has brought together both gender history and the history of science in this deeply researched, cogently argued, very readable book. In this excellent work of scholarship, Ellis focuses on the history of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS), from its inception in 1831 to 1918 and reveals ‘the deliberately constructed and artificial nature of male scientific authority.’ She shows how in the changing social and cultural world of the nineteenth century, men of science repeatedly used differing gendered notions to counter varying adverse public perceptions of their masculinity. In her fascinating account, she controverts many misconceptions concerning men of science and uncovers some very interesting history. In so doing she makes a very important contribution to both gender history and the history of science.” (Professor Ruth Watts, University of Birmingham, UK)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • Introduction: The ‘Man of Science’ as a Gendered Ideal

    Ellis, Heather

    Pages 1-17

  • The Changing Public Image of the ‘Man of Science’, 1600–1830

    Ellis, Heather

    Pages 19-47

  • New Masculine Heroes: Davy, Bacon and the Construction of the Gentleman-Scientist

    Ellis, Heather

    Pages 49-84

  • ‘An Effete World’: Gendered Criticism and the British Association

    Ellis, Heather

    Pages 85-116

  • Thomas Carlyle, the X-Club and the Hero as Man of Science

    Ellis, Heather

    Pages 117-148

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for Brazil (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-31174-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for Brazil
  • ISBN 978-1-137-31173-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Masculinity and Science in Britain, 1831–1918
Authors
Series Title
Genders and Sexualities in History
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-31174-0
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-31174-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-31173-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 240
Topics