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Performing geology: risk and conquest in the origin stories of a field science
  • Tamara Pico
Tamara Pico
UC Santa Cruz

Corresponding Author:tpico@caltech.edu

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 Stories about the foundation of US geology as a discipline are prominent in the culture of field geology today. This article traces the threads of such “origin stories” through field geology practices and undergraduate training. The repetition of these origin stories obfuscates the colonial and race-fueled motives that underpin the actions of the US geologist characters featured in these stories. Increasingly, the field is recognized as a site of sexual and racial harassment and abuse. By making visible the racialized subplots in the history of US geology, which include entrenchment in racial science and land dispossession, I posit that the curated origin stories repeated today perpetuate processes of gendered and race-based exclusion and subjugation in field geology.