Invisibility thesis

Spring 2018

Understanding biological diversity begins with collecting, whether of observations, specimens (alive or dead), photographs, or descriptions. In this seminar for majors in biology and environmental science, we will explore many aspects of biological collecting especially around these themes:

Phylogenies and adaptive radiations

Arrangements of collections

Challenges and controversies of nomenclature and classification

Surprise convergences

Themes for collecting (even ones that might seem frivolous, obsessive or inaccurate)

Seemingly narrow expertise in a subset of organisms

Obsessions (and their constructive uses)

Adventure (travelling to get a complete set!)

As referenced in Robert Massie's tome Catherine The Great, A Portrait Of A Woman , Catherine's former lover, Stanislau Poniatowski the King of Poland, writes to Catherine that the crown she procured for him would become a shirt of Nessus: "I shall be burned alive and my end frightful." Catherine's support for dissident Russian Orthodox believers, a Polish minority, against the majority Catholic rulers created an untenable situation in Polish politics that led to many uprisings against the Russian interference in Polish domestic squabbles.

This comment really resonates with me, Duchesse. I remember Jamie Lee Curtis, in an interview, speaking of how she was trying her best to step out of the limelight, recognizing that it was time to let her daughter shine (her daughter was in her late teens at the time). I don’t mean that we need to be self-effacing, but there are ways to be appreciated, noticed, without getting the kind of attention we might have when we were younger — supporting others is perhaps one of the best ways, and if we don’t get looked at, we can generally be listened to.
I recognize, though, that this awareness or sentiment has deepened for me as I’m moving into my 60s, as my daughters move through their 30s, as my granddaughters move firmly into speech and mobility, as my parents and in-laws have died.
Oh Lisa, you really have opened up the conversation. .

Invisibility thesis

invisibility thesis


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