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Feminist science and the conservation of wild bees in urban gardens

McDermott, Donna (2014) Feminist science and the conservation of wild bees in urban gardens. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Science and politics are inextricably entwined. Scientists must understand how their political opinions sway the course of their research. Without this insight, scientists may unintentionally support political ideologies that they actually find morally reprehensible. Scientific thought aims to understand and harness services of the natural world. Feminist theory of science is a critical framework that rejects the inherent arrogance in this goal. Controlling nature is particularly pertinent in agricultural pollination, as farmers often rely on agrotechnology to sustain a single species of bee, honeybees, to pollinate all crops. Honeybees can be prohibitively expensive or complicated to maintain, so that some farmers can’t access this resource. The cultivation of wild bee communities for agricultural pollination is a feminist method of decreasing farmer’s reliance on honeybees. By cultivating wild bee habitat and forage, farmers can encourage sustainable and resilient pollination systems. Sustainability and resilience of ecosystem services are key feminist ideals. Feminists aim to construct methods of science that prioritize the conservation of natural ecosystems while addressing human needs. Human needs are especially important when they are voiced by groups of people who are systematically denied control over their own lives, based on their race, gender, class, sexuality, or other features of their identity. Ecologists often share these goals, so ecology is a prime field for exploring the overlap between scientific and feminist thought. Urban farms are an important space for combining bee conservation, ecological research, food access, and community involvement. By doing research and conservation on urban farms, scientists can accomplish the feminist goal of involving community members in scientific work to mutual benefit.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorRelyea, Rick Arelyea@pitt.eduRELYEA
Committee MemberPruitt,
Committee MemberWenzel,
Committee MemberHannabach,
Date: 2 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 March 2014
Approval Date: 2 May 2014
Submission Date: 17 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 76
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Ecology and Evolution
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bees, honeybee, wild bee, pollination, conservation, ecosystem, urban ecology, urban farm, urban garden, community garden, food democracy, feminism, feminist science, kyriarchy, agriculture, agroecology, agrotechnology, Integrated Crop Pollination, Integrated Pest Management
Date Deposited: 02 May 2014 17:47
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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