FEMINIST BIOLOGY INITIATIVE

Daphna Joel
Dr. Daphna Joel presents at the 2018 WI Symposium on Feminist Biology

Funded by an estate gift from the late Dr. Gertraude Wittig, who was herself a biologist, the Feminist Biology Initiative has two components: the Wittig Postdoctoral Fellowship in Feminist Biology, and the biannual Wisconsin Symposium on Feminist Biology.

Feminist biology comprises two strands.  One strand involves feminist critiques of traditional biology.  Biology is a complex field, including neuroscience, endocrinology, botany, animal biology, and evolutionary biology, as well as biological psychology and biological anthropology. Feminist criticism has been published in all of these areas.  The other strand involves building a new biology that incorporates feminist approaches to theory, research methods, and the topics that are studied.

Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez-2018 Symposium cropped
Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez presents at the 2018 WI Symposium on Feminist Biology

The Wittig Postdoctoral Fellows Program in Feminist Biology offers the opportunity to combine research in a Fellow’s specific area of interest with teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  During the two-year postdoc, the Fellow teaches one undergraduate course per semester for the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies such as GWS 530, Biology and Gender.  Research can be conducted in any hosting faculty lab at the University.  Past Wittig Postdocs include Dr. Caroline VanSickle, a biology anthropologist, and Dr. Ann Fink, a neuroscientist.

The biannual Wisconsin Symposium on Feminist Biology, to be held next on October 2, 2020, features keynote speakers who have been the founders of feminist biology, as well as rising stars in the field. Past speakers include Professors Anne Fausto-Sterling (Brown University), Sari van Anders (formerly University of Michigan, now Queens University), Marlene Zuk (University of Minnesota), Kate Clancy (University of Illinois), Daphna Joel (Tel-Aviv University), and Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez (University of California, Davis).

Information about the upcoming 2020 Wisconsin Symposium on Feminist Biology can be found here. Past programs from the Wisconsin Symposium on Feminist Biology can be found below:

2018 Symposium
2016 Symposium
2014 Symposium