Thesis ID: CBB839353373

‘Surgical and Rigorous (Yet Always Fun)’: Science, Sport, and Community in American Birding, 1950-1980 (2020)


Anthony, Matthew Hayden (Author)
McGovern, Charles (Advisor)

The College of William and Mary
McGovern, Charles
Publication date: 2020
Language: English

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 413

This dissertation examines how birders in the mid-20th century created an institutional culture and national community autonomous from ornithology, working to define birding as an activity which blended practices and ideas from science and sport. The negotiations over the relative prominence of science and sport inform contemporary dialogues about citizen science and how to involve recreationists/amateurs in scientific work. While this story is often told from the perspective of scientists, the reality is that birders borrowed from science but also pursued their own goals and practices. Birding, which sits at the crossroads of science and sport, presents a unique case because as birders worked to define their activity and build an institutional culture they were beset by debates not merely about best practices, but about the fundamental nature of birding. Was it science, or sport? And if it was a mix of the two, what was the appropriate ratio and which element should be dominant? These were the questions that birders in the mid-20th century struggled to answer, and the debates about how to answer them defined birding culture and practice in ways that continue to reverberate through not just birding, but ornithology, bird conservation, and citizen science.

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Authors & Contributors
McGregor, Russell
Benson, Etienne Samuel
Birkhead, Tim R.
Dunlap, Thomas R.
Hale, Piers J.
Merchant, Carolyn
Historical Records of Australian Science
Journal of the History of Biology
Archives of Natural History
Environment and History
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
HOST: Journal of History of Science and Technology
Yale University Press
University of Oklahoma
Australian Scholarly Publishing
Basic Books
Duke University Press
McGill-Queen's University Press
Wildlife conservation
Human-animal relationships
Natural history
Chisholm, Alec
Grinnell, George Bird
Newton, Alfred
Palmieri, Paolo
Paz Graells, Mariano de la
Peterson, Roger Tory
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
21st century
Great Britain
United States
Cornell University
National Audubon Society
Natural History Museum (London, England)
United States. Biological Survey
Cornell Library of Natural Sounds
Cornell University, Laboratory of Ornithology

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