Recent years have seen a flourishing of scholarly and popular publications about intersexualities, transformations of sex, and non-reproductive sexual behaviours in the natural world. News stories, children’s books, and LGBTQ+ initiatives in natural history museums (such as the current ‘Queer – Diversity is in Our Nature’ exhibition at Naturhistorisches Museum Bern) have further amplified knowledge and appreciation of ‘evolution’s rainbow’ as never before. Yet zoological descriptions of queer bodies and behaviours have been made since classical times. How have past naturalists treated the variations of sex in oppressive intellectual and cultural environments that doggedly condemned such variations as ‘evil’ and ‘unnatural’? In this talk, Dr Ross Brooks (he/him) will chart the often surprising, often troubling, queer history of zoology from Aristotle to the forthcoming documentary ‘Queer Planet,’ reflecting on why it is now more important than ever to acknowledge and celebrate queerness in the natural world.
Ross is an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. He has been researching the queer history of science since 2006 and has published on the subject in leading journals including Archives of Natural History, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. In June 2019 he acted as contributing editor to a special queer-themed edition of Viewpoint: Magazine of the British Society for the History of Science. He is a recipient of the William T. Stearn Essay Prize, awarded by the Society for the History of Natural History, and is a Fellow of the Linnean Society. Follow Ross on Twitter @rossb_oxford.
This event will take place in person at the UCL Institute of Education, Room C3.09, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
This event is organised by LGBTQ+ STEM @UCL