Sarah’s research focuses on female geographers, explorers and scientists active in the 20th century, looking particularly at women’s participation in Royal Geographical Society supported expeditions from 1913-1970. Her PhD research, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and undertaken collaboratively with the University of the West of England and the RGS-IBG, was the first to map out women’s participation in these expeditions, grounded in archival work in the Collections of the RGS-IBG. Her research interests include women’s history and the history of exploration and of geography, with particular focus on ideas about heroism and masculinity, and how these have potentially obscured women’s geographical work and contributions. Prior to her PhD research, Sarah completed her BA (History) and MPhil (Modern South Asian Studies) at St. John’s College Cambridge. She currently works at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in the Research and Higher Education team.
Keynote: Mapping out terra incognita: women and the Royal Geographical Society
Sarah’s talk will explore women’s involvement with and relationships with the Royal Geographical Society, focusing on women’s participation in Royal Geographical Society-supported expeditions between 1913 and 1970. It will provide some key contexts, considering the earlier history of women and the RGS in the 19th century, including the debates around women’s Fellowship in the early 1890s, and the significance of 1913, the year women gained permanent admission to the Fellowship, as a watershed moment. The talk will tell the stories of some of the many women involved with these expeditions, while situating these in the context of the wider cohort as mapped out in my PhD research. It will range widely both across the period considered, and geographically, taking in a range of different expeditionary environments, and focusing on both well-known women and more marginal figures.