A teacher, a scientist, a wife: the complex self of Joséphine Schouteden-Wéry (1879-1954)

Sarah Erman

Abstract


In early twentieth-century Belgium, a number of women started careers in teaching and furthered their education at university. This article explores how one of them, Joséphine Schouteden-Wéry – a teacher, a botanist and wife of a successful zoologist – built her public image as a professional “teacher-scientist” by tapping into various pre-existing cultural repertoires for the female popular science writer and for the scientist. I examine how several elements were instrumental in this process, for both the making and the circulation of her public self. Attention is thus directed towards the opportunities provided by the ambiguity of the field as a place of biological research and teaching, the fluidity and uses of the persona of the explorer by scientists and non-scientists alike, and the different impacts of scientific sociability. It is argued that while Schouteden-Wéry strove to construct an independent and consistent public self as a scientist, a teacher and a wife, the different sides of her multifaceted public self occasionally clashed with each other.



Keywords


Gender; Women in Science; Place; Education; Identity; Persona; Botany; Field; Colonialism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/ps2018vol4no1art703

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