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Seminar Series on Equal Opportunities

The Female Turn - how evolutionary science shifted perceptions about females

by Dr Malin Ah-King (Stockholm University)

101121 (Ångströmlaboratoriet1)



About the speaker: Associate Professor Malin Ah-King is an evolutionary biologist and gender researcher at Stockholm University. After receiving her PhD in zoology, she has worked with interdiciplinary biology and gender research. Malin Ah-King is also organising the seminar series " Gender, Gender Equality and Natural Sciences" at SU.
About the seminar: The Female Turn explores how and why evolutionary biology has shifted perceptions about females during the last three decades. Traditionally in sexual selection, the evolutionary theory about sex differences, females were assumed to be coy and passive in sexual encounters and only mate with one male, but perceptions has come to include active sexual strategies and molecular analyses of parentage have revealed frequent female multiple mating in a wide range of species. This is a history of controversies and negotiations of scientific knowledge, in which traditional perceptions were criticized and defended, new suggestions were met with skepticism. Who were the pioneers? Where did they get their ideas from? What resistance did they meet and how did their ideas and findings get recognized? Drawing on feminist science studies and sociology of scientific knowledge, I chart the development of perceptions about females in the international sexual selection community. The analyses are based on interviews with researchers working on different animal groups as well as publications in the field. A key argument is that a gender perspective is important to understand the history of shifting perceptions about females, and also to shed light on what continues to be neglected in sexual selection research.
The seminar is organised in collaboration with the course "The Scientific Worldview" by Jan-Erik Rubenson.
Organized by

Karin Schönning, Petra Jönsson and Jan-Erik Rubensson