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The Female Turn - how evolutionary science  shifted perceptions about females

Malin Ah-King, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Gender Studies
Stockholm University

This talk traces the history of how evolutionary biology transformed its understanding of females from being coy, reserved and sexually passive, to having active sexual strategies and often mating with multiple males. Why did it take so long to discover female active sexual strategies? What prevented some researchers from engaging in sexually active females, and what prompted others to develop this new knowledge? Based on the scientific literature on sexual selection and in-depth interviews with leading researchers, pioneers and feminist scientists in the field, I analyse how conclusions drawn about sex were formed by the researchers’ scientific interests, theoretical frameworks, specific study animals, technological innovations, methodologies and sometimes feminist insights. Thereby, my analysis shows how and why certain researchers gained knowledge about active females, and also how ignorance was and continues to be produced.

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  • Ellie Andrew-Vaughan

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