Kirsti Niskanen and Michael J. Barany, "Gender, Embodiment, and the History of the Scholarly Persona" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)


In Gender, Embodiment, and the History of the Scholarly Persona. Incarnations and Contestations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), Professors Kirsti Niskanen and Michael J. Barany present a rich collection of essays on the historical construction and reinvention of scholarly personae. The book carries this investigation by focusing on three contextual conditions that play a decisive role in the fashioning of such personae: international travels, embodiment, and gender. The book also pays great attention to the role of incomes and funding opportunities in the evolution of scholarly personae in disciplines as varied as mathematics, philosophy, experimental psychology, pedagogy, history, and medicine.

Niskanen and Barany “see the history of scholarly personae as occupying a vital space in cultural theories of science and scholarship”. This statement should be understood in at least two ways. Firstly, the study of scholarly personae delves into the dynamic interactions between personalities, institutions, professional ethos, social norms, international exchanges, and explains how these interactions generate ways of conducting and presenting one’s life. Secondly, uncovering such histories of scholarly personae eventually leads to a better understanding of contextual forces that prevent or encourage the emergence of greater diversity and equity within academia today.

At the intersection of a wide range of scholarly disciplines and geographical contexts, Gender, Embodiment, and the History of the Scholarly Persona represent a major contribution to the historical study of scientific personae since Lorraine Daston and H. Otto Sibum’s special issue, “Scientific Personae and Their Histories”, published in 2003.

Victor Monnin, Ph.D. is an historian of science specialized in the history of Earth sciences. He is teaching the Humanities and French language to undergraduates.

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Victor Monnin

Victor Monnin, Ph.D. is an early-career historian of science. He teaches History at John Jay College, City University of New York.

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