Primate Encounters: Models of Science, Gender, and Society

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9780226777559: Primate Encounters: Models of Science, Gender, and Society

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"[A] fascinating study.... on how and why ideas about primate society have changed. The volume consists of dialogues among scientists from different disciplines, national traditions, scientific cultures, generations, standpoints, and genders.... A wonderful reflection on the discipline of primatology and on science in general." - Science Books and Films; "Sparkling with ideas, bristling with controversy, this volume offers new understandings of what science is, how it is made, and the special position of primate studies in society. Innovative and authoritative.... The result is truly wonderful." - Londa Schiebinger, Pennsylvania State University

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How have our conceptions of primate behaviour and society changed since primatology came into its own after World War II? What kind of science is primatology, and what role have women scientists played in its development? "Primate Encounters" represents a pioneering attempt to answer these questions by bringing together two groups of scholars who often ask them: scientists and those who study them. The result is a fascinating and provocative collective reflection on primatology and on science in general, and on the relations of both broader cultural, historical and social issues. Beginning with a history of ideas about primate society, the book continues with personal reflections from senior primatologists who have lived that history. Other chapters reveal the diversity of "primatologies" that exist outside North America, compare the history of primatology to that of closely related disciplines such as archaeology and animal behaviour, and examine the roles that gender, media, society and technology have played in the development of the field. With contributions by a number of well known scholars in both primatology and science studies, including Donna Haraway, Alison Jolly, Bruno Latour and Robert W. Sussman, "Primate Encounters" demonstrates the exciting possibilities that arise when scholars from both sides of the "science wars" trade ideas rather than insults. The book also includes a selection of informal e-mail exchanges that allows readers to experience firsthand some of the lively discussions generated by such a diverse group of contributors.

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