On the Periphery: Women, Science and Caribbean Natural History


Source guides and catalogues attest to the fact that Caribbean natural history has inspired curiosity and study for centuries. If we confine ourselves to published treatises, however, it appears that women participated very little in exploring and documenting the region’s natural environment. A very different picture emerges, however, when we turn to women’s letters, travelogues, and drawings, where they recorded their observations of Caribbean flora, fauna, rocks, and fossils and through which they shared their findings with the wider community. Focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this paper, “On the Periphery: Women, Science and Caribbean Natural History” recovers these forgotten efforts of women who lived in and visited the Caribbean and examines them in the larger context of women working on the periphery of European science.

Keywords:  Caribbean, Women, Sources, Natural History, Science, Environment

Aleric Josephs