fbpx STS Circle: Meg Perret on “'Climate Change Creates Female Super-Race': Male Extinction, Endangered Turtles & Coral Reef Coll" | Harvard Kennedy School
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Date and Location

October 26, 2020
12:15 PM - 1:30 PM EST



I confront two
case studies of scientific representations of the inextricability of the future
of biodiversity and our own species. First, I argue that cultural and
scientific depictions of global warming rely on a gendered metonymy that
reduces the complexity of the threat of climate change to the possibility of a
feminized future through “male extinction.” In doing so, I examine the
rhetorical devices shared by climate fiction films that focus on the impact of
climate change on human reproduction—such as 2019 film Annihilation—and
scientific research on endangered sea turtles, which argues that global warming
could cause extinction by skewing the sex ratio of turtle hatchlings toward a
“female dominant” population. I further illuminate the rhetorical connections
among this research, social scientific studies that argue that climate change
could harm male fetuses, and political discourses of “white extinction
anxiety.” Second, I contrast these representations with an emerging research in
“extinction biology” on the alarming loss of the coral reef ecosystem through
ocean acidification which describes the threat of climate change as “chains of
extinction” or “extinction cascades.”

Speakers and Presenters

Meg Perret is a
PhD candidate in history of science and women, gender & sexuality studies
at Harvard University. She is a recipient of the presidential scholarship,
which recognizes the top admitted graduate students at Harvard for their
leadership and innovation potential in both public policy and academia. Her
dissertation, The Future is Species-Queer: Race, Gender & Sexuality in the
Sciences of the Biodiversity Crisis examines the rhetoric, metaphor, and images
that scientists use to conceptualize and depict their research on species
extinctions. She has worked on several interdisciplinary collaborative projects
between feminist scholars and scientists including the Harvard GenderSci lab
which generates feminist concepts for scientific research on sex, gender, and
sexuality. She works with the climate justice organization, Our Climate Voices,
where she leads their program on intersectional feminism. She graduated with
highest honors from UC Berkeley as a triple major in Integrative Biology;
Gender and Women’s Studies; and Interdisciplinary Studies: Science, Technology
& Society.


Additional Organizers

​Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Weatherhhead Center for International Affairs: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.