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Saturday, April 18th
2:30 PM

“Wave Function” and the Second Wave: Towards a Feminist Theory of Physics or a New Understanding of Physics in Feminism?

Christina Bovinette

UC 333

2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Science and technology, broadly construed, are usually thought to be at least aspects of one and the same enterprise. In a more narrow sense, science is our best tool for describing the “structures of reality” and we readily accept the privileged status of science for doing so. For example, we no longer invoke Dionysus when grapes become wine rather we accept a scientific explanation. Technology, on the other hand, features “infinite transformative possibilities” based on discoveries of science. But we typically make few or insufficient distinctions within or between the sciences and technology. As Albert Borgmann says, “[m]ost of us are only peripherally in touch with the body of scientific theories and with the social organization that undergirds it.” Consequently, technology studies are taken up by social scientists often guilty of this fatal lack of distinction. As a result, critiques of science and, as I will show, of women in science are often mis-located. For feminist scholar, Marilyn Frye, the metaphors and social structure within science is in some measure to blame for women’s oppression, historically and presently. It seems that Frye would have us throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater; abandon science as an ally in liberation from social oppression. If this is her proscription, Frye and I are in union on this point, but with qualification. Frye is correct to point out the sexism within the history of science and to gesture at the continued male-dominance within scientific fields. However, the broader claim of her essay, that sexism is a natural component of the scientific enterprise and scientific theories, is utterly false. By carefully articulating the structure of science through the work of Borgmann I will show that Frye misplaces her critique of sexism in physics to the detriment of her sound claims regarding women’s oppression and social philosophy. I will then strengthen Frye’s point by relocating women’s oppression to its correct place within the structure of science. Such relocation is necessary to properly address discrimination on the basis of sex and/or gender and to move towards more just gender relations within science.

2:50 PM

Relactation: A Phenomenological Approach

Amy N. Lommen, University of Montana - Missoula
Blakely Brown, University of Montana-Missoula
Dusten Hollist, University of Montana-Missoula
Annie Sondag, University of Montana- Missoula

UC 333

2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Relactation: A Phenomenological Approach


Background: Human breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs. Breast milk is a live substance with immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.1 Research shows that mothers without reliable perceived support, access to breastfeeding support groups, lactation specialists, or support from family may lack the confidence to breastfeed or may discontinue breastfeeding before the recommended amount of time.2 Relactation is the process of re-establishing a breast milk supply that has diminished or ceased. Reasons women relactate include untimely weaning, separation of mother and infant due to premature birth or illnesses, infant is unable to tolerate artificial infant milks, or natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes.3,4 A mother needs access to knowledgeable healthcare professionals who can assist her with the process of relactation. She also needs to have support from family, friends, and providers that can encourage and empower her to successfully relactate.

Objective: To explore the lived experiences of women living in Montana who chose to attempt relactation.

Methods: This qualitative research study focused on describing and interpreting the lived experiences of women who attempted relactation using a phenomenological approach, which makes no assumptions about the outcome, nor guides the participant to talk about any specific aspects of their experience. To ensure this unadulterated approach, interviews were completely unstructured. Participants were encouraged to describe the experience in their own words, and to talk about the issues that were important to them. This is the basis of a true phenomenological approach. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed by the researcher and assistant. Interviews ranged from thirty minutes to two hours in length. Eight interviews were conducted in person, in a place of the participant’s choice which was usually in their home. Two were completed via telephone. A qualitative Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyze the data.5 The essence of IPA lies in its analytical focus, which directs attention towards the participants’ attempts to make sense of their experience. IPA is an iterative and inductive method which draws upon different processes such as line by line analysis of experiential claims, concerns, and understandings, identification of emergent patterns, coded data, participant’s psychological knowledge about what it might mean to have these experiences, and the development of a structure or frame which illustrates the relationships between themes.5,6

Results: An overarching theme that could have impacted the initial breastfeeding experience, and furthered the need for relactation, was having a difficult baby. Examples of being difficult included colic, latching issues, or a lack of bonding felt by the participant.

Conclusion: Participants in this study all had one thing in common- they described their babies as difficult; either with latching, nursing because of excessive crying, or difficult to care for because the maternal-child bond was absent. All participants were surprised at how difficult breastfeeding was, and rightly so; they all had non-typical breastfeeding experiences. Women need to share their experiences instead of be ashamed of them, and they might realize many others have bumps in the road to breastfeeding.

Well Established: Relactation is a process for re-establishing a breast milk supply when it has decreased or diminished. Reasons for relactation include, but aren’t limited to: untimely weaning, separation of mother and infant, inability to tolerate artificial infant milks, or natural disasters.

Newly Expressed: This study provides insight into the lived experience of relactation and gives a voice to women who have attempted the process. While the general protocol for assisting a woman is well documented, this study highlights an emotional depiction of the experience described from the findings.

1. Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professions. Maryland Heights, MO: Elsevier Mosby Publication; 2011.

2. Lauwers J, Swisher A. Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning; 2011.

3. Wiggins PK. 911 Breastfeeding. Mothering. 2007;145:64-69.

4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Infant nutrition during a disaster, breastfeeding and other options. Accessed May 25th, 2013.

5. Smith JA, Flowers P, Larkin M. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method, and Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 2013.

6. Smith JA. Hermeneutics, Human Sciences, and Health: Linking Theory and Practice. Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2007;2:3-11.

3:10 PM


Eryn Schneider
Andrew J. Larson, University of Montana - Missoula
Kelsey Jencso, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 333

3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

The spatial patterns of snow accumulation and melt in forested watersheds directly control runoff generation processes and the annual quantity and quality of available water to downstream receiving waters. In the western U.S. nearly three quarters of the annual water input into the hydrologic cycle comes from snow accumulation and melt in forested watersheds. This provision of water is one of the most important forest ecosystem services and is necessary for ecological, economic and social health. Despite our understanding of the coupling of forests and watersheds, the relationship between forest spatial patterns and snow hydrology is poorly understood. Forest canopies exhibit heterogeneity manifested as a mosaic of differing species, spatial arrangements, and canopy densities that differentially intercept incoming precipitation, alter wind patterns, and absorb, trap or reflect radiation; controlling the processes of snow accumulation and ablation. Vegetation patterns have been used as surrogates for processes where we expect that spatially recognizable structures give rise to specific ecological processes and vice versa. We investigated how spatial patterns of snow depth, density, snow water equivalent (SWE), and snow disappearance date (SDD) varied within stands of heterogeneous canopy structure. We collected 780 empirical measurements of snow depth, density, and SWE at peak accumulation on two fully georeferenced, mixed-conifer plots at Lubrecht Experimental Forest in western Montana. Throughout the 49 day melt season, we monitored SDD, snow depth, and SWE every third day with 4900 samples per campaign. In 2014, snow depth, density and SWE ranged from 0.0-67.31 cm, 5.43-49.76%, and 0.75-17.90 cm respectively. A canopy competition index ranged from 0.0-86.8 with non-forested areas averaging 11.5 cm SWE, melting around day 41 compared to mature dense canopy with average SWE of 5.1 cm and a SDD around day 9. This preliminary work suggests a strong linkage between canopy structure and accumulation and snowmelt processes. In the future we seek to link canopy patterns and the specific physical mechanisms that lead to differential snow dynamics in forested landscapes. This understanding is essential for improving process-based models and tools for forest managers to optimize forest water resources in a changing climate.