TROY, NY – The Sage Colleges welcomes Rachel Maines, Ph.D., to its Troy campus on for a lecture entitled “Stinks and Bangs: Hobby Science in Gendered Spaces.”
Maines will explore her theory that hobbies in the United States and Britain co-evolved with 20th-century living spaces, especially single-family residences for the white middle class. She believes scientific hobbies associated primarily with men and boys, such as photography, amateur chemistry, junior rocketry, model railroading, electronics, automobile mechanics, and carpentry tended to create domestic disamenities in the form of loud noises, penetrating and sometimes poisonous stenches, fire hazards, and ever-expanding clutters of tools, materials and projects finished and unfinished.
Maines will explain how in cities, basements and attics were pressed into service as retreats for amateur scientists; in suburbs and rural areas male hobbyists insulated family members from their “stinks and bangs” by colonizing garages, sheds, barns, and even former chicken coops as recreational work spaces. Hobby workspaces for girls and women, however, were almost never intended as scientific retreats, and were integrated into the household as sewing rooms and adjuncts to the kitchen. She will share how this gender segregation of hobby science has, in many cases, persisted into the 21st century as an almost invisible obstacle to introducing girls and women to the pleasures of science.
The event will take place in Bush Memorial on the Troy campus at It is part of the WORLD Series, a year-long lecture series for first-year Russell Sage students, the campus community and the public, focusing on topics of global and national importance, women's lives, science and technology, and the arts. WORLD stands for “Women Owning Responsibility for Learning and Doing.”
Maines is a visiting scientist at the Cornell University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.