Feminist Glacier Guy: You’re Not Educated Enough To Get My Research

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The University of Oregon historian who wrote a study claiming glaciers are sexist said in an interview Friday that the general public isn’t educated enough about feminism to understand his research.

In the interview, Dr. Mark Carey claims that when his studies are “described to nonspecialists, the research can be misunderstood and potentially misrepresented.”

“People and societies impose their values on glaciers when they discuss, debate, and study them—which is what we mean when we say that ice is not just ice,” Carey said in the Friday interview with Science Magazine. “Glaciers become the platform to express people’s own views about politics, economics, cultural values, and social relations (such as gender relations).”

Carey’s original study concluded glacier research is intertwined with gender relations, masculine culture, geopolitics, institutional power and racism — these apparently led to to glacier-related academic and governmental jobs being predominantly filled by men. The academic complained “how men’s voices have dominated the research” and lamented that “power and colonialism have shaped the science” when discussing the research on the university website.

The study was poorly received by the general public and many real scientists, several of whom even initially believed the study was a work of satire. Cornell University chemist Dr. Phil Mason wrote on Twitter the study left him”dumbfounded.”

The research was financially supported by taxpayer dollars. The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave Carey a five-year grant   to write his “feminist glaciology” paper. He has received a total of $709,125 in grants from the NSF, according to his curriculum vitae. Carey did not address the huge sum of money he received in the interview.

Carey believes  the generally negative reaction to his study proves “that glaciers are, in fact, highly politicized sites of contestation. Glaciers don’t have a gender. But the rhetoric about ice tells us a great deal about what people think of science and gender.”

In the interview with Science magazine, Carey rejects most mainstream glacier research, and claims to be interested in creating “different sociocultural forms of glacier knowledge that go beyond science, to generate discussion.”

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