At a Glance
In honor of Women’s History Month, this series will celebrate four indefatigable English women who survived dangerous, sometimes near-death encounters — from menacing wildlife to knife-wielding assassins, from shipwrecks to cannibals! These plucky female trailblazers belonged to a rare breed of Britain’s aristocracy or upper middle-class society in an era when it was almost unheard of for a female to travel abroad unaccompanied by a man. Bucking social conventions, the intrepid female explorers of this four-part lecture series embarked on journeys that would often take them to some of the most misogynistic regions of the world. They would each come to be recognized for their fields of expertise — from archaeology to cartography, travel writing to public speaking and philology to diplomacy. In part two of this series, archaeologist and lecturer Nicholas Stavrinides retraces the footsteps of Victorian ethnographer Mary Kingsley. Once called an “explorer in petticoats,” her expeditions into West Africa — often described as the “deadliest spot on earth” — led to close encounters with cannibals and crocodiles.