Mermaids and Herring Quines: Gender in the more-than-human

Wednesday 8 March 2017
5.30 - 7.00pm

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Nicholson Museum | University of Sydney


It is time to make women’s voices count if we are to hope for sustainable fisheries.

In partnership with Macleay Museum.

The world of fishing is a very masculine one – from images of iconic heroic fishermen to advertisements featuring men wresting bears for salmon (“It’s the fish that John West rejects that makes John West, the best”). Yet women do the bulk of the work in fisheries worldwide, normally as the unseen processors or the wives who keep the books for family-run fisheries. To celebrate International Women’s Day, this talk looks at the mythical and historical roles of women: from the mermaids who bedevilled sailors to the Herring Quines or Lassies who followed the herring from the tip of north Scotland to Falmouth. And then there are the women who voiced concerns about the imminent collapse of the Canadian cod fishery but were not listened to. It is time to make women’s voices count if we are to hope for sustainable fisheries.

Professor Elspeth Probyn’s talk will be followed by the launch of her book Eating the Oceans (Duke University Press, 2016), with Professor Mandy Thomas (Queensland University of Technology) and Professor David Schlosberg (Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute, the University of Sydney).

Elspeth Probyn (Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia) is Professor of Gender & Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. She has taught media, cultural studies and sociology at universities in Canada and the USA, and has held several prestigious visiting appointments around the world. Her work has helped to establish several new areas of scholarship – from embodied research methods to cultural studies of food. Professor Probyn is the author of several groundbreaking monographs and over a hundred articles and chapters across the fields of gender, media, and cultural studies, philosophy, cultural geography, anthropology and critical psychology.