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BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship

26 March 2021

Professor Mary Orr has been awarded a 12-month BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for her project ‘Sarah Bowdich (Lee) 1791-1856: Pioneering Natural Science From Below’. The Fellowship will give Mary 12 months to complete her monograph on Sarah Bowdich (Lee) and to curate the first exhibition of Sarah’s pioneering work.

History from below has undeniable leverage and lessons. It uncovers overlooked protagonists in national innovation endeavour often contributing against considerable odds. One such figure is Sarah, Mrs T. Edward Bowdich then Mrs R. Lee (1791-1856). When women allegedly cannot participate in early nineteenth-century scientific exploration and discovery, Sarah’s multiple specialist contributions to new understanding in French and British natural sciences, and to their dissemination, have attracted no book-length study. This project therefore proposes the first major monograph to investigate Sarah’s unbroken production of discipline-changing scientific work for its transnational importance. However, the book does more than recuperate Sarah’s ground-breaking intermediations in ‘French’ and ‘British’ natural sciences. Her productivity was also achieved at great personal cost. Sarah’s larger significance is then as a case study for women in STEM(M) today: the project learns major interdisciplinary and intercultural lessons through its first exhibition of her pioneering work.