Linking Past to Present in a Postcolonial Field Science: How Scientific
Training and Practice in US Geology Perpetuates Marginalization
AbstractI explore power dynamics in modern US field geology and their links to
the discipline's history. From undergraduate training to scientists'
impact on local communities where fieldwork is situated, modern
practices replicate existing power structures that can be traced to 19th
century geology in the United States. I seek to understand how field
geology attracts and trains the next generation of field geologists and
how field geologists interact with the external communities where
fieldwork is conducted. I draw upon modern and historical practices of
race-based exclusion from outdoor space to argue that field geologists
ignore an important legacy of racism that is crucial to acknowledge in
training future scientists. Furthermore, 19th century US American
geologists instituted imperialistic practices of producing knowledge
that subjugated marginalized populations. I argue that field geologists
continue to use these tactics today, and the training and practice of
field geologists participates in imperialistic knowledge production.
Through an analysis of knowledge production and training practices in
field geology, I trace the imperialistic legacy of 19th century US
geology in modern culture. I build upon discourse in feminist studies
and postcolonial theory to illuminate the social culture of field
geology through a feminist lens.