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‘Muddy glee’: rounding out the picture of women and physical geography fieldwork

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Fieldwork in geography has come under close scrutiny from feminist and postcolonial scholars in recent years. In relation to physical geography, commentators have pointed to a range of practices and images (notably the ‘heroic’, masculinist ‘ideal’) that have acted to deter and exclude women, from undergraduates to senior academics. For some, fieldwork is one of the key sites of gender discrimination for women in physical geography. This paper starts from a position of agreement with many of these critiques, but also seeks to ‘reclaim’ some more positive accounts and perspectives on the subject. In doing so, it aims to critique and disrupt the dominant image of physical geography fieldwork as essentially a masculinist endeavour, and encourage a wider view of the challenges and pleasures of fieldwork for women in physical geography.

Keywords: UK; culture; fieldwork; gender; physical geography

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, Email: 2: Department of Geography, Birkbeck College, University of London, London WC1E 7HX

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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