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The Fall of an Angel: Gendering and Demonizing El Niño

Julia Miller
Department of Modern History,
Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.



     There are parallel narratives in world history and scientific literature that portray the meteorological phenomenon El Niño as a problem to be solved and a physical entity to be brought under control by humankind. Historically El Niño was not a curse. To the Peruvian fishers that named it, El Niño was a blessing. The change in perception of El Niño from a blessing to a curse is curious. El Niño, the Christ Child that brought the gift of rain to the normally arid inland areas of Peru and bathed the shores of Ecuador and Peru with warmer water around Christmas time, is now viewed in the pejorative. The question is why or by what means has this transformation taken place? It suggests, in the very least, that perceptions about weather and climate are culturally embedded and subject to change. For the Peruvian fishers, El Niño was a blessing because it brought the gift of rain and tropical fish; but for contemporary scientists and world historians El Niño is a menace and the bad boy of global weather. To investigate this shift in perception, it is necessary to reflect on cultural assumptions about weather and climate and how dominant discourses can impact the ways we represent the El Niño phenomenon. Often these assumptions are deep-rooted and go unrecognised.1 Yet they underpin our contemporary thinking and they impact on the way we manage our affairs. That we see El Niño as a problem to be solved has implications for the way we formulate environmental management policies. A threatening, powerful El Niño that can wreak havoc on human populations invokes a different response from a blessed young boy that brings the gift of rain.

     This shift in perception has been explained by world historians in terms of global climate change which has had an impact on the periodicity and intensity of El Niño events and the increased vulnerability of human populations to this change. The source of legitimacy for the contemporary appraisal of El Niño remains obscured, however.2 This fear of a powerful male El Niño, and the naming of the cool cycle of ENSO, La Niña, the girl child, is illuminative of cultural forces at work.3 These gendered concepts are not incidental to the narratives but indicative of the cultural assumptions about nature embedded in Western science. As feminist critiques illustrate, cultural assumptions, such as philosophical traditions that ground rationality in the masculine, form the rationale for gendered stereotypes.4 Feminist histories of Western science detail the origins of the philosophical assumptions from which "rational" masculine science draws its legitimacy, while relegating nature to the feminine and making it an object of its study. 5 This kind of gendered analysis is relatively new in this history of science, and critics have commented that gender analysis is seldom employed in world history.6

     This paper traces the gendering of El Niño in Western science and world El Niño histories. It shows how masculine and feminine attributes ascribed to El Niño are derived from culturally constructed notions of nature and weather. Challenging the political narratives of white male elites, it argues that the naturalising of gendered concepts perpetuates parallel narratives of domination in Western science and world history. These narratives of power have significant political implications for environmental management.

Naming and naturalising: the appropriation of El Niño by Western science

     El Niño is the name given by Western science to the warm phase of ENSO — a global climate system that involves both the ocean and the atmosphere.7 The name first appears in scientific literature in a 1891 report in the Lima Geographical Society Bulletin by its president, Señor Dr Luis Carranza. Four years later, at the Sixth International Geographical Congress in Lima, Peru, Seøor Federico Alfronso Pezet cited this report and called attention to a counter-current flowing north to south between the ports of Paita and Pacasmayo. Paita sailors and fishers had named this current El Niño, Spanish for the Child Jesus or Christ Child.8 In 1894 and 1895, the Peruvian geographer Victor Eguiguren, suggested a link between the heavy rains that resulted in flood damage to the northern coastal city of Piura in 1891 and the warm coastal current, El Niño.9 The Southern Oscillation — the surface pressure oscillation across the Pacific Ocean — became linked with El Niño by Jacob Bjerknes in the early 1960s when he recognized the interplay of the ocean and the atmosphere in generating these meteorological events. The term ENSO was first used in 1982 by Rasmusson and Carpenter to characterize the system described by Bjerknes.10

     El Niño was gendered male because of a connection between the perceived gift of rainfall and marine life around Christmas and the male Christ Child. This connection of beneficence and El Niño is also a reflection of the influence of the Catholicism that had been brought to Peru by the Spanish colonisers. Replicas of the Infant of Prague, a statue of the Child Jesus, were popular in South America and the Infant was invoked in prayers for favours and blessings. To the fishers and Carranza, El Niño is a blessing. And so it was for the author of a 1891 letter from the files of the International Petroleum Company at Talara in northern Peru:

The periodic rains in Talara and the adjoining country …are by no means regular. Formerly they were supposed to occur every seven or eight years and were known as 'years of abundance,' since the desert soil is soaked by the heavy downpour, and within a few weeks the whole country is covered by abundant pasture. The natural increase of flocks is practically doubled and cotton can be grown in places where in other years vegetation seems impossible… . the most remarkable explanation of these rains is that they have something to do with the Corriente del Niño, or Reverse Humboldt Current. 11

     Similarly a letter from S.M Scott of Florence, Italy, who was resident in Talara in 1891 opines:

If the sea was full of wonders the land was even more so. First of all the desert became a garden …12

     Heavy rains still transform parts of the Peruvian desert into a garden. However, El Niño is now more commonly associated with menace and destruction. This shift in characterization is the result of the appropriation by Western science of El Niño as a world climate phenomenon and a change in the perception of extreme weather events. Western science, as a construct of Western philosophical thought, has overlaid ideas about nature and gender on to El Niño. Journalists and world historians have followed this lead.

     El Niño shifted from being a regional to a global event in 1972-73. Associated droughts in the Soviet Union, West Africa, Ethiopia, India, southern Africa, Australia, Central America, Brazil, and Indonesia caused a worldwide decline in food production, providing an imperative for scientific research into this climate phenomenon. Fishing catches also declined. El Niño became a problem to be overcome. Fuelling this push for technological capability on the part of Western nations was also the rivalry between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War, in the three decades before the collapse of the Soviet system in 1991, had intensified technological development and competition and accelerated scientific research.13 The quest to decode and control El Niño by Western science was one manifestation of this political rivalry. For example, the Soviet launching of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 spurred the United States to engage in the "space race," funding research in the oceanographic and atmospheric sciences--the two areas directly connected to a Western scientific understanding of ENSO.14

     The media focused on the destructive impact of the 1982-83 El Niño and from then the term El Niño came into common usage.15 For example, in February 1984, National Geographic published a photo essay of the 1982-83 event and its worldwide consequences.16 It was clear from this essay that El Niño was now viewed in the pejorative. Dread of a destructive, male El Niño became a pattern in scientific literature, world histories, and the media from the 1980s. El Niño was less often referred to as the Child Jesus or Christ Child and more frequently as simply "the boy."17

     One of the leading scientific researchers on ENSO, geoscientist S. George Philander, attributes this anxiety about El Niño to the increasing vulnerability of humankind to climate fluctuations due to population growth.18 Philander describes the changes in our perceptions of El Niño in terms of a young boy growing from a "mischievous youngster" playing pranks on the fish off Peru to a rebellious and capricious adolescent of global consequence who has grown in "size, power, and guile."19

     Philander's masculinist reading of El Niño is as obvious as his feminization of La Niña. When in the late 1970s, scientists discovered that there were two distinct cycles to ENSO the name "Anti-Niño" was sometimes used. Philander disliked this name suggesting it was an "unfortunate if not apocalyptic choice."20 La Niña was not to be the anti-Christ. He instead suggested La Niña as the name for the cool phase of ENSO arguing that it was an "appropriate name for El Niño's consort, his complement."21 Consort and complement is understood by Philander in gendered terms: while his El Niño is versatile and a trickster, his La Niña is "alluring," "intriguing and mysterious," expressing her "coolness with flair." 22

     Philander's construction of El Niño and La Niña as the young boy and the young girl --as opposites--is echoed by other scientists and in world media. This view mirrors nineteenth century arguments that men are competitive, aggressive, and active by nature. Women are seen as their complement: non-aggressive, self-sacrificing and passive.23 Victorian ideas, mixed with Darwinism and recent socio-biology, have seen the masculine symbolized by virility. Nature, no longer viewed as merely reproductive and providing, but now seen as "wild, violent, competitive, and sexual," is connected to the masculine. The feminine is seen in contrasting terms as "insipid, domestic, asexual, and civilizing."24 This correlates with Rousseau's notion of the male as strong and active and the female as weak and passive.25

     The split of ENSO into male and female reflects a key element in Western philosophical thought--its often dualistic structure. The development of dualisms has been a historical process. Dualisms such as reason/nature may be ancient, but others such as human/nature and subject/object are associated with post-Enlightenment and modern consciousness.26 This Western philosophic tradition of dualisms and its search for the essential structure of knowledge came under scrutiny with the advent of deconstruction — a term coined in the late 1960s by Jacques Derrida. As an extension of his theory of logocentrism, Derrida posited that hierarchical dualisms (being/nonbeing, reality/appearance, male/female), where the first element is regarded as stronger and thus essentially true, underpin all texts.27

     The Derridan articulation of centres and margins can be useful in realizing the extent to which hierarchical dualisms construct narratives of power and the illogical basis of that construction. As Joan Scott reminds us, gender is not just a way of defining a perceived difference between the sexes based on a social relationship; gender is also a primary way of signifying relationships of power.28 These dualisms are not just sexual--there are characteristics that are aligned to either the masculine or the feminine, and the assumed power relation is evident in them. The characteristics commonly attributed to masculinity are intellect, activity, egotism, competition and dominance and those given to femininity are passivity, intuition, altruism, nurture, and submission. Of course, not all of these characteristics map precisely onto El Niño and La Niña, but a significant number of them do. El Niño is most often described as the dominant cycle in ENSO and the more powerful and active. La Niña is "nurturant," conveying the life-giving rains and is subordinate to her "big brother." This corresponds with the common association of the male with destruction and the female with creation and the bringing of life.29

     The case of El Niño shows us how long-held cultural tenets shape the language of Western science. One example is sexual difference being cast in terms of cosmic principles. Hot and dry entities were masculine, while cold and moist entities were feminine.30 Here is a clearly defined correlation of El Niño, the warm phase of ENSO that exacerbates drought with the ancient rendering of the masculine and La Niña, the cool phase of ENSO, bringer of flooding rains with the feminine. As Genevieve Lloyd argues in The Man of Reason, the male-female distinction is not a straightforward expression of classification but an expression of values. Our ideas and ideals of masculinity and femininity have been formed within structures of dominance--of superiority and inferiority, "norm" and "difference," "positive" and "negative," and "essential" and the "complementary."31

     To recognize historically how these categories came into being is to realize the subjective and collective meanings of men and women as categories of identity that have been constructed.32 For the story is not simply about male/female relationships but about the origins of these notions of masculinity and femininity. This gendering of El Niño--the product of cultural perceptions of the masculine and the feminine--is also apparent in the naming of plants and animals. Naming nature, argues Evelyn Fox Keller, is the special business of science. Theories, models, and descriptions are elaborated names. In these acts of naming, the scientist simultaneously constructs and contains nature.33

     Londa Schiebinger discusses the gendering of plants, the attribution of male and female parts by Linneaus and Erasmus Darwin and Linneaus's naming of mammals. As Schiebinger argues, there is no evidence that Linneaus intentionally chose a gender-charged term for mammals. However, what he may have done "naively" was not done "arbitrarily". His actions were a response to the values and attitudes of society at the time. As Schiebinger asserts, scientists remain the marketeers of political ideas regardless of their awareness of the implications of their work.34 Schiebinger's argument that the direction of scientific inquiry has been influenced by the fact that it is essentially a male domain illustrates how scientific knowledge has been moulded historically by gender.35 For example, eighteenth century travel narratives featured the masculine hero, the "adventurer-scientist" who encountered life-threatening female nature in the service of science.36

     The field of physics displays a particularly gendered approach, argues Margaret Wertheim, in Pythagoras' Trousers, an appraisal of the cultural forces at work on the direction of scientific research. The contemporary search for a "theory of everything" and a state of original perfection is a modern-day interpretation of the Genesis story--a scientist's mathematical Eden. This quest for a unifying theory that transcends space and time and exists "beyond" the realm of material manifestation is an attempt by "Mathematical Man"--as Wertheim dubs physicists--to achieve a feat normally attributed to God.37 The field of physics, as it emerged from Christian Pythagoreanism with its attribution of divinity to mathematics, gives the physicist an added dimension -- that of the student and decoder of morality. Pythagoreans believed that numbers had ethical and moral characteristics. The emergence of Pythagorean dualism saw the qualities of goodness, maleness, and oddness on one side and evil, evenness, and femaleness on the other.38 Pythagoras painted a picture in which the universe was conceived as a great musical instrument resonating with divine mathematical harmonies. Wertheim says it is a vision that has inspired mystics, theologians, and physicists ever since.39 Indeed, contemporary scientists such as George Philander and Richard Fairbanks use mathematical and musical metaphors in their descriptions of the interplay of the ocean and the atmosphere during El Niño events. Fairbanks likens an ENSO event to an orchestra playing a symphony. Similarly, for Philander, only a symphony orchestra "can do justice to the music of this planet."40

     The gendering of El Niño has been the unintentional result of the dominance of the masculine in Western scientific thought. The Enlightenment philosopher Francis Bacon equated masculine scientific knowledge with power and designated nature as the feminine object of knowledge. Baconian science, therefore, legitimized masculine power over feminine nature.41 In general in scientific literature, the underlying message is the quest for the mastery of nature. In the case of El Niño, Western science is painted in terms of the hero hunting El Niño -- its quarry -- in order to protect humankind from El Niño's ravages. There is a tension here, as the nature in need of subduing by masculine science is most often gendered female. El Niño, the powerful boy child, falls outside the usual power relations of masculine science subduing female nature. However, as Lloyd explains what is valued is often gendered male, and in its original context as the bringer of rains to the arid Peruvian desert regions; El Niño was valued.

     It is also helpful to realize that views of nature can be conflicting because attitudes that have lain dormant can resurface and mix with more contemporary ideas--nature as chaotic for example. The view of nature as chaotic existed in tandem with ancient and early modern attitudes to nature as the "nurturing mother" and the kindly "beneficent female" who provided for the needs of humankind in an ordered, planned universe.42 Nature as chaotic was wild and uncontrollable--a female nature that could render violence, storms, and drought. It was this view of nature as disorder that gave rise to the Baconian idea that humankind must master nature and have power over it.

     Keller argues that for the founding fathers of modern science this quest to control nature formed an overt part of its masculinity. The reliance on the language of gender was explicit: they sought a philosophy that deserved to be called "masculine" and that could be distinguished from its ineffective predecessors by its "virile" power, its capacity to bind nature to man's service and make her his slave. Western science has, therefore, evolved under the formative influence of a particular ideal of masculinity.43

     This particular ideal of masculinity is evident in the imperial quest to explore nature. In the Enlightenment project of knowledge, the relation of power between two gendered spaces--male science and female nature--is expressed as a journey, argues Anne McClintock. Male penetration and exposure of a veiled, female interior aggressively converts its "secrets" into a visible male science of the surface.44 In his interrogation of the writings of Australian explorers, Simon Ryan discusses exploration as a gendered practice--one that feminizes the Australian continent and sees it unveiled, rendered open by the masculine gaze of the explorer.45 For Ryan, the writings portray the Australian continent in terms of a woman's body being entered by the male explorer, an example of a western discourse constructing the object of scientific investigation as female.46 This coupling of a historically female nature and male science has formed a central metaphor of scientific discovery.47

     Keller has also made the connection between masculine science, its construction of the world as an object of domination and control, and Western science's view of itself as objective. 48] Most working scientists, according to Keller, have an enduring faith in the objectivity of their enterprise. This objectivity is gendered, however, for the female has been equated with the personal and subjective and the male with the impersonal and objective. Such an equation can inform us about the aspirations of a male-dominated science: "Scientists, as human actors, find some pictures or theories more persuasive and even more self-evident than others in part because of the conformation of those pictures or theories to their prior emotional commitments, expectations, and desires."49

     Since Thomas Kuhn's assertion in 1962 that paradigm shifts in scientific knowledge are not wholly empirical and that other factors influence what the scientific community decides as the "best theory" to explain the prevailing world view, other theorists have looked to the impact of political and social factors on the formation of scientific knowledge.50 Yet scientists themselves often contest the argument that their method is not grounded in the empirical.51 Katherine Hayles, who sees objectivism as deeply rooted in Western culture, describes scientists as the "traditional objectivists". Objectivism, she says, continues to form the backbone of the mainstream view of scientific inquiry.52 This claim to objectivity in Western science's search for external truths forms the basic premise for its claim to be the mediator of reality. However, once it is acknowledged that the Western scientific world view is cultural, objectivism is challenged. Indeed, Western science's construction of nature is not one shared by the rest of the world. David Arnold and Ramachandra Guha, for example, have emphasized the discrepancies between views of nature and environmentalism in Asia and the paradigms dominant in the West.53 Arnold has also pointed to the influence of Western science on environmental history--a genre that explores ideas about the natural world and how these have developed and informed our understanding of history and culture. Western science has had a profound influence on historical thinking for more than a century, argues Arnold. This makes Western science too important to be "left to the technical experts: it needs to be deconstructed and opened up for wider historical scrutiny."54

     It is perhaps this claim of Arnold's, that Western science has informed historical thinking for more than a century that best explains the pervasive influence of this world view on our gendering of natural phenomena such as El Niño. For despite its claims to objectivity and empirical inquiry, constructions of El Niño and La Niña remain ultimately embedded in culturally specific values of nature. Western science paints El Niño, once the Child Jesus or Christ Child, the bearer of gifts, as a bad boy, a global menace that needs to be tamed. La Niña is constructed as El Niño's complement, the little sister and the lesser of the pair.

Patterns that go without saying: World El Niño histories

     World El Niño histories are relatively recent and reflect the growing popular and scientific interest in this phenomenon. The histories considered for the purpose of gender evaluation in this analysis were all published in the past decade: C­sar Caviedes, El Niño in History: Storming Through the Ages; Ross Couper-Johnson, El Niño: The Weather Phenomenon that Changed the World; Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World; Brian Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilizations; J. Madeleine Nash, El Niño: Unlocking the Secrets of the Master Weather-Maker; and S. George Philander, Our Affair With El Niño: How We Transformed an Enchanting Peruvian Current into a Global Climate Hazard. Of these authors only Mike Davis is a historian. Fagan is an archaeologist, Caviedes and Philander are scientists, and Couper-Johnson and Nash are journalists. The El Niño story as told in these histories follows, in the main, the quest by Western science to understand and control nature. They construct El Niño and La Niña in the same vein as Western science, gendering them male and female with the characteristics of the masculine and the feminine respectively. This gives world El Niño histories the same underlying rationale as Western scientific research -- El Niño is chaotic nature manifest in need of subduing.

     When world histories describe El Niño as powerful and explosive55 -- "the uncontrollable child" who "flexes his muscles,"56 an unpredictable trickster with a propensity to violence,57 they are echoing the typology of Western philosophy and Western science that the masculine signifies strength and activity. In these histories, El Niño is the herald of the Apocalypse58 and the vehicle of holocaust.59 Fagan, for example, likens El Niño to a "chaotic pendulum" with "protean mood swings," and describes it as "unpredictable" and "menacing," 60 For Davis, El Niño is the uncontrolled monster that rearranges the world economy. For Nash, El Niño is the master weather-maker--a dangerous leviathan.61 Fagan depicts El Niño as a "climatic spoiler of the first magnitude" creating "havoc" and "exercising enormous power" over millions of people.62

     The world historical characterization of El Niño as wild, uncontrollable nature runs in tandem with the portrayal of heroic science in its quest to quell the monster. This theme predominates, for example, in Mike Davis's Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, a world history that casts El Niño as the agent of imperialism. Davis describes Jacob Bjerknes as "an aged Viking warrior of weather science" and frames El Niño in terms of the elusive white whale of tropical meteorology.63 Nash, too, employs the themes of El Niño as the powerful, elusive quarry of heroic science as this quote suggests: "It is humbling to realize how mightily climatologists are struggling to identify, and to quantify, all the impacts people are having on the climate."64 Nash's El Niño is not only the "the master weather-maker" but also--in the same metaphoric imagery as Davis--"a force of nature wilder and more elusive even than the White Whale."65

     While a masculine El Niño is strong and powerful, his female companion La Niña is destructive but dependent. In world El Niño histories, La Niña is portrayed as the "disruptive" little sister and the "unpleasant counterpart."66 In Couper-Johnston's appraisal, El Niño is considered the norm and La Niña the variation.67 This female La Niña is the lesser entity who has "remained hidden in the shadows" and emerges "clinging to the coat tails of her big brother."68 La Niña is the "scourge" who brings flooding rains.69 This characterization of El Niño as more powerful than La Niña, I would argue, rests on a construction of gender relations related to the hierarchal dualism evident in Western philosophic traditions. Using Derrida's notion of the illogical claim of texts structured as hierarchal dualisms outlined above, however, the basis for this power relation becomes untenable.

     It is worth remembering that this imperialist view is rather narrow and that in the process of adopting the Western scientific characterization of El Niño, we have lost the Christ Child and the Peruvian association of El Niños as anās de abundancia, years of plenty.70 In a critique of world historiographical treatment of Africa, Maghan Keita calls for a decentering of the dominant discourses.71 Keita's challenge to the Western construction of the world in a global sense is echoed here. El Niño is a global phenomenon--through teleconnections El Niño has an impact on the weather across the world. El Niño's link with climate change, famine, drought, and flood make it an entity of contemporary global significance as evidenced by the research priority given to it by Western science, its frequency in the media, and attention in world histories.

     A recognition of the philosophic traditions that have informed Western science and the arrogance of a Western hegemony in world historiography are not all that should concern us. The dangers of universalizing the Western view of El Niño also emerge when looking at how this "bad boy of global weather" is supposedly managed. In Australia, for example, El Niño exacerbates drought, and government organizations fund scientific research into climate modeling and long-range weather forecasting as well as water management. The premier CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) website details the ways in which research is "delivering the science" needed to underpin state and Australian government water resource strategies. CSIRO's Water Smart City Systems program is primed to address the challenge of how to "accommodate population growth, climate change, and environmental needs while maintaining people's quality of life."72 However, there is considerable debate within Australia and the Western world as to the wisdom of maintaining the present population growth rate in the face of worsening environmental degradation. A critical awareness of climate in Australia is evident in a study of perceptions of weather in the past and the present.73 Yet it has been argued by government planners that what is needed is a change in attitudes--a change in the way Australians think about their climate.74 The rationale underscoring government research clearly ignores the cultural construction of weather evident in the historical record.


     This paper has sought to demonstrate the cultural constructedness of nature and to show the forces at play in the gendering of El Niño. The product of these forces--the recasting of El Niño as a powerful male in need of subduing--has influenced Western environmental policy. The narratives of domination in Western science and in world El Niño histories also reinforce the view that these policies are of universal application. When Western science and world histories propose to subdue El Niño and use it to advantage, they are perpetuating a view of El Niño embedded in gendered narratives of power that pretend to transcend national and cultural boundaries. Critics have argued that the "add women and stir" approach is far from the ideal of an all-inclusive world historiography and that gender analysis is seldom employed in world history.75 This investigation of the gendering of El Niño focuses on values we often accept without investigation and represents a new model for gender analysis in world history.

Biographical Note: Julia Miller is a doctoral candidate in world history at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her thesis examines the social construction of El Niño in NSW, Australia, from 1890 to 1990. It demonstrates how changes in perceptions of El Niño have impacted on the formulation of environmental management policy.



1 Roland Barthes, "Myth Today," in Susan Sontag, ed. A Barthes Reader (London: Jonathan Cape, 1982), p. 132.

2 See S. George Philander, Our Affair With El Niño: How We Transformed an Enchanting Peruvian Current into a Global Climate Hazard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); J. Madeleine Nash, El Niño: Unlocking the Secrets of the Master Weather-Maker (New York: Warner Books, 2002); and Brian Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilizations (London: Pilmico, 2000).

3 El Niño is the warm phase of the meteorological phenomenon ENSO, El Niño Southern Oscillation. La Niña is the cool phase of ENSO. El Niño is often used as a metonym for ENSO in both historical and scientific literature.

4 Louise M. Antony and Charlotte Witt, eds., A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993) and Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason: 'Male' and 'Female' in Western Philosophy (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).

5 Margaret Alic, Hypatia's Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity to the late Nineteenth Century (London: The Women's Press, 1986); Margaret Jacob, The Cultural Meaning of the Scientific Revolution (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1988); Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983).

6Judith P. Zinsser, "Gender," in Marnie Hughes-Warrington, ed, Palgrave Advances in World Histories (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2005), p. 189 and Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton, eds., Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), pp. 409-11.

7 Michael H. Glantz, Currents of Change: El Niño's Impact on Climate and Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 134.

8 C­sar Caviedes, El Niño in History: Storming Through the Ages (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001), pp. 57-8; Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, p. 27, Glantz, Currents of Change, pp. 3-4, and S. George Philander, El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Oscillation (San Diego: Academic Press, 1990), p. 1.

9 Caviedes, El Niño in History, p. 30, and Glantz, Currents of Change, p. 35.

10 Eugene M. Rasmusson and Thomas H. Carpenter, "Variations in Tropical Sea Surface Temperature and Surface Wind Fields Associated with the Southern Oscillation/El Niño," Monthly Weather Review, 110, 5 (1982): 354-84.

11 H. Twiddle of Lima, in Robert Cushman Murphy, "Oceanic and Climatic Phenomena along the West Coast of South America in 1925," Geographical Review, 1926, p. 35.

12 S.M. Scott, in Murphy, ibid, p. 37.

13 W.M. Spellman, A Concise History of the World Since 1945 (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), pp. 48-51, p. 233.

14 Ibid, p. 257.

15 Glantz, Currents of Change, p. 68.

16 Thomas Y. Canby, 'El Niño's Ill Wind,' National Geographic, 165, 2, 1984, pp. 144-183.

17 Ann-Maree Graham, Trends in Science: The Sunspots and ENSO Case Studies, PhD thesis, Macquarie University, 2005, Appendix for ENSO published titles 1980-2005.

18 S. George Philander, Is the Temperature Rising? The Uncertain Science of Global Warming (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), p. 143 and Our Affair With El Niño, p. 2 and passim.

19 Philander, Our Affair With El Niño, pp. 29-31.

20 S. George Philander, El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Oscillation (San Diego: Academic Press, 1990), p. 8.

21 Philander, Our Affair With El Niño, p. 30.

22 Ibid, p. 25, p. 19 and p. 17.

23 Mary Poovey, Uneven Developments: The Ideological World of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (London: Virago, 1989), pp. 77-8.

24 Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 20.

25 Maurice Bloch and Jean Bloch, "Women and the dialectics of nature," in Carol MacCormack, and Marilyn Strathern, eds, Nature, Culture and Gender (Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 1980), p. 35.

26 Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, p. 43.

27 Jacques Derrida, "Of Grammatology," in Peggy Kamuf, ed., A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp. 32-53.

28 Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), p. 42.

29 Sherry B. Ortner, Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996), p. 29.

30 Londa Schiebinger, Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993), p. 1.

31 Lloyd, Man of Reason, p. 103.

32 Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, p. 6.

33 Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1985), p. 17.

34 Schiebinger, Nature's Body, p. 8.

35 Ibid, p. 120.

36 Londa Schiebinger, Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), pp. 65-7.

37 Margaret Wertheim, Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), pp. 216-7.

38 Wertheim, ibid, pp. 25-6.

39 Wertheim, ibid, p. 9.

40 Philander, Our Affair with El Niño, pp. 134-6, p. 138. Richard Fairbanks quoted in Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, p. 258.

41 Lloyd, Man of Reason, pp. 11-17.

42 Merchant, Death of Nature, p. 2.

43 Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1985, p. 7

44 Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (New York: Routledge, 1995), p. 23.

45 Simon Ryan, The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers saw Australia (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996), p. 9. For a discussion of the masculine Australian character pitted against a hostile feminine land see Kay Schaffer, Women and the Bush: Forces of desire in the Australian Cultural Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) and David Tacey, Edge of the Sacred: Transformation in Australia (Victoria: HarperCollins, 1995).

46 Ryan, The Cartographic Eye, p. 196.

47 Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, p. 3.

48 Ryan, The Cartographic Eye, p. 10.

49 Ibid.

50 Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University Press of Chicago, 1962).

51 Stephen Weinberg, "Reflections of a Working Scientist," Daedalus, Summer, 1974, pp. 33-46.

52 N. Katherine Hayles, "Searching for Common Ground," in M.E Soule, and G. Lease, eds., Reinventing Nature? Responses to Postmodern Deconstruction (Washington: Island Press, 1995), p. 49.

53 David Arnold and Ramachandra Guha, eds., Nature, Culture, Imperialism: Essays on the Environmental History of South Asia (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995), introduction, pp. 1-20.

54 David Arnold, The Problem of Nature: Environment, Culture and European Expansion (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 3.

55 Nash, El Niño, p. 236, passim and p. 244.

56 Ross Couper-Johnson, El Niño: The Weather Phenomenon that Changed the World, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000), p. 28.

57 Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, p. 30 and p. 258.

58 See Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts, Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, and Couper-Johnston, El Niño.

59 Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts, p. 22 and Nash, El Niño, p. 120.

60 Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, p. 51, p. 30, p. 37, p. 95.

61 Nash, El Niño, p. 93 and p. 225.

62 Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, p. 44, p. 49 and p. 53.

63 Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts, p. 214.

64 Nash, El Niño, p. 308.

65 Ibid, p. 54.

66 Caviedes, El Niño in History, p. 170, p. 147 and p. 150.

67 Couper-Johnston, El Niño, p. 28.

68 Ibid, p. 27.

69 Ibid, p. 20.

70 Fagan, Floods, Famines and Emperors, p. 3.

71 Maghan Keita, "Africans and Asians: Historiography and the Long View of Global Interaction," The Journal of World History, 16, 1 (2005): 1-30.

72 Robin Taylor, "Water for a Healthy Country," Solve, August, 2005, p. 17,

73 Julia Miller, "Soakers and Scorchers: The social construction of El Niño and the role of historical knowledge in environmental policy implementation," International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 2, 1, 2006, pp. 75-84.

74 Robin Taylor, "Water for a Healthy Country," Tony Kaye, "Solving Our Water Headache," Solve, 1, November 2004, and Tim Sherratt, "Human Elements" in Tim Sherratt, Tom Griffiths and Libby Robin, eds, A Change in the Weather: Climate and Culture in Australia (Canberra: National Museum of Australia Press, 2005), pp. 1-17.

75 Judith P. Zinsser, "Gender," pp. 189-214 and Ballantyne and Burton, Bodies in Contact, pp. 409-11.








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