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Posts Tagged ‘Would Jane Austen like STEM?’

Jane Austen: STEMinist…?

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Claude made me write this post.  ‘Claude’ is the Claude Debussy channel on Pandora, which is the channel I usually listen to on my evening walks.  They play music from Jane Austen movies – that’s what prompted me to think about – #STEM and Jane Austen…that’s where this madness came from.

I’m a Jane Austen junkie.  I think I’ve said that here before, but just let me be clear about that. There are few things for which I’m completely certain, and this is one where I am certain…so please allow me to put that stake firmly into the ground.

Also, I’ve noticed during my research of the #STEMPrincess project, that a lot of other women in STEM are avid readers, and even fellow Jane junkies.  (Here are some just to prove it.)

While Jane, in my humble opinion, brought us some of the most interesting and complex characters of all time in the literature, (even as a possible game theorist), I often wonder – if she had a shot at a more formal education, would she have taken it?  Furthermore, had she gone through formal education, would she have been in STEM?  Would she have created something amazing in the realm of science, or engineering?

Don’t get me wrong – the world would be a far, far poorer place without Brandon and Darcy, and much less colorful without Willoughby and Wickham.  But I do know Jane was an avid reader, and primarily educated informally by her family.  What if she had had a shot at a formal education, like her brothers?

While it’s pretty clear she was a feminist as well, being independent and never marrying, would she have been a STEMinist, if given the opportunity?  And even bigger, what if women had always been treated equal in terms of educational opportunities?  What would the world look like now?

Thanks, Claude.