Article ID: CBB197386351

‘We the Tormentors’: Death, Emotions, and Gender in the Life and Work of the Entomologist Margaret Fountaine (2022)


This paper combines the history of scientific collecting with the history of emotion. It does so by using a unique combination of private and public sources – the diaries and articles of entomologist Margaret Elizabeth Fountaine (1862–1940). Fountaine practiced entomology at a time when there were few women in science, and in particular in entomology, requiring each woman to make her own way and devise her own strategies and scientific persona. Fountaine’s emotions towards collecting insects were ambivalent, and while collecting was a source of great pleasure to her, it was also at times a source of guilt and pain. Indeed, in her diaries she exhibited a range of emotions, including pity for the insects. However, in her articles she exhibited a more limited emotional palette, as the scientific persona she chose to construct was built from two narratives – the objective researcher and the white imperial huntress – and these, while bestowing authority upon her, only allowed for the expression of certain emotions. In addition to showing how Fountaine had to tailor the emotions she exhibited, this paper also suggests that objectivity in collecting was another kind of emotion. It was an attempt to distance the collector from the subjects of collection by using instruments and interacting with them in a supposedly emotionless way. This paper argues that when examining the making of scientific knowledge we should look at both its cerebral aspects and its emotional aspects, as the latter also played an important role.

Included in

Article Deborah Dubald; Catarina Madruga (2022) Introduction: Situated Nature: Field Collecting and Local Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century. Journal for the History of Knowledge. unapi

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Article Waring, Sophie; (2015)
Margaret Fountaine: A Lepidopterist Remembered (/p/isis/citation/CBB001422107/) unapi

Article Early, Julie English; (1995)
The science of work, life, and text: Margaret Fountaine's captures/capturing Margaret Fountaine (/p/isis/citation/CBB000069241/) unapi

Article Elisa Garrido; (2022)
Trementinaires: Gender, Collecting, and Subsistence in the Pyrenees (/p/isis/citation/CBB163562295/) unapi

Article Marinescu, Alexandru; (2007)
Aristide Caradja et sa grande collection de lépidoptères (/p/isis/citation/CBB000831548/) unapi

Article Ackery, Phil; Goodger, Kim; Lees, David; (2002)
The Bürgermeister's Butterfly (/p/isis/citation/CBB000641168/) unapi

Article Ackery, Phillip. R.; (2002)
Emin Pasha's Butterflies---A Case for Casati? (/p/isis/citation/CBB000740303/) unapi

Article Hancock, E. Geoffrey; Douglas, A. Starr; (2009)
William Hunter's Goliath Beetle, Goliathus goliatus (Linnaeus, 1771), Re-Visited (/p/isis/citation/CBB000932310/) unapi

Article Francis, Patricia; (2015)
Philip Brookes Mason (1842–1903): Surgeon, General Practitioner and Naturalist (/p/isis/citation/CBB001500444/) unapi

Chapter Berry, Andrew; (2008)
“Ardent Beetle-Hunters”: Natural History, Collecting, and the Theory of Evolution (/p/isis/citation/CBB001035184/) unapi

Book W. Conner Sorensen; Edward H. Smith Ph.D; Janet R. Smith; Donald C. Weber; (2019)
Charles Valentine Riley: Founder of Modern Entomology (/p/isis/citation/CBB822897879/) unapi

Article Hugh B. Feeley; Craig R. Macadam; (2022)
A history of the discovery and study of Plecoptera (stoneflies) in Britain and Ireland (1769–1970s) (/p/isis/citation/CBB301884338/) unapi

Article Hancock, E. Geoffrey; Brown, Georgina V.; Jowett, Brian; (2011)
Pinned Down: The Role of Pins in the Evolution of Eighteenth Century Museum Insect Collections (/p/isis/citation/CBB001022492/) unapi

Article Boel Berner; Maria Björkman; (July 2017)
Modernizing the flow of blood: Biomedical technicians, working knowledge and the transformation of Swedish blood centre practices (/p/isis/citation/CBB596544906/) unapi

Article Rachel Louise Moran; (2022)
Spitting on my sources: Depression, DNA, and the ambivalent historian (/p/isis/citation/CBB521761933/) unapi

Book Rachel E. Walker; (2022)
Beauty and the Brain: The Science of Human Nature in Early America (/p/isis/citation/CBB487226567/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Hancock, E. Geoffrey
Ackery, Phil
Ackery, Phillip R.
Berner, Boel
Berry, Andrew
Björkman, Maria
Archives of Natural History
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Book History
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
History of the Human Sciences
Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
University of Alabama Press
University of Chicago Press
Collectors and collecting
Natural history
Science and gender
Fountaine, Margaret
Hunter, William
Caradja, Aristed
Casati, Gaetano
Pasha, Emin
Riley, Charles Valentine
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
20th century, early
17th century
20th century, late
Great Britain
United States
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Brazil)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment