An Archaeology of Gender by 6PiS579


									An Archaeology
  of Gender
Terms and Concepts
Before WE Get
 What is Archaeology

 What is Gender

  How does Archaeological Theory
 Impact How We Approach Gender
 “the study of past humans
  based on investigation of
   their material remains”     “[Archaeology is] is the
            Or                discipline with the theory
                                  and practice for the
                              recovery of unobservable
                                   hominid behavior
                                 patterns from indirect
                                traces in bad samples.”
                                    (David Clarke)
Two Primary Types of

    Prehistoric archaeology,
   including all past Hominid
populations without some form of
         written record.
Historic Archaeology
   Depends how you define it -

    is it a period of time, or is it -

 a methodology, and thus text aided
 archaeology, inclusive of all cultures
    that produced written records
      Units of Analysis
 If we assume that “scientific method bridges
ideas, then units are the tools that construct
                 that bridge”
                  (Ramenofsky and Steffen 1998:3)

 a way “to measure the world...[to] partition and specify a
 range of variability that is relevant for particular research
                                         (Ramenofsky and Steffen 1998:3)
                  Unit content can be
                   either empirical,

 In the case of
   gender the
content of unit
construction is      or conceptual
very important
      Empirical units are derived from direct
    observations of the physical world and are
correlated with something that is physical in nature,
        such as a specific artifact or groups
                    of artifacts

     They are defined by their relationship to groups of
     items and are often derived through sorting, and are
     considered natural units that can be easily measure,
                   weighed, and compared
   “Conceptual units [, in contrast] are
abstractions that have no physical referent”
                                 (Ramenofsky and Steffen 1998:5)

 Conceptual units are “developed from concepts and are
imposed on phenomena,” and are entirely abstract, and are
           inferred indirectly from many traits
                                 (Ramenofsky and Steffen 1998:6)
   Gender Review
     Definitions in Archaeology --

                Gender -
a conceptual abstraction established and
    transmitted by culture through the
          socialization process,
   and impacted by agency, ethnicity,
              age, and class
Therefore it is separate from the biological
and empirical notion of sexed individuals or
               populations -

    the concepts of sex and gender are
used to “differentiate biological givens from
      cultural expectations”(Nelson 2004:3)
While the biological realities of sex are, for the most part,
 determined at birth, gender is a learned behavior that
   is not determined by birth and varies significantly
      from culture to culture and from time to time

 So - sex is plumbing and wiring, gender is

     and without this “distinction between gender and
      sex, studying gender roles in ancient societies
              becomes a virtual impossibility”
                        (Arnold 2002:239)
                   Gender roles -

  “the differential involvement of men and women in social,
 economic, political, and religious institutions within specific
 cultural” settings, and represent a interconnected complex
   set of social interactions and expectations making up a
network of connections that vary dependent on a number of
 variables that change in varied cultural settings throughout
                        time and space.
                    (Conkey and Spector 1998:25)
           Gender Identity -

“an individual’s own feeling of whether she is
  a woman or man,” or some other gendered
 construct, “and may not be associated with
   their gender identity assigned by other
   individuals within the defining culture or
              (Conkey and Spector 1998:25)
            Gender Ideology -

  “The meaning in given social and cultural
contexts,” and highlights issues of gender, sex,
      and reproduction, including any
  “prescriptions and proscriptions for any
                gender group”
                    (Conkey and Spector 1998:25)
       Function of gender
Assuming the existence of a gendered world outside of the
biological sexed world, what is the function of gender, be it
                   two, three, or seven?

                    Organize labor -

               Determine sexual partners -

              Now thats a good question -
         “Danger Will
          Robinson” -
        Potential Sleep
        Hazard ahead

Archaeological Theory and Gender
     Three major archaeological
Processual Archaeology
 The New/Old Archaeology


-Deductive Reasoning

-Hypotheses Testing

-Project Design
                        Lewis Binford   Sally Binford

-Quantitative methods
Concerns -
   -Systems Theory

             -Minimize cultural contact

          -Individuals have no significant
         impact on social-cultural change,
         making them passive instruments,
            rather then active agents of
 Postprocessualism - -
-As Ruth Tringham (1991)
  pointed out, unless you
  consider the individual,
          you have an
 archaeology of “faceless
blobs,” and unless you are
   willing to “give your
 imagined societies faces,
   you cannot envisage
                             Ian Hodder
Postmodern --

            Text    Michael Shanks

                   Christopher Tilley
      Feminist postmodern critiques

  - “that given its manifest failure to expose
and correct sexist presuppositions, perhaps
    scientific method is itself androcentric;
   perhaps extant forms of practice do not
 merely allow androcentric bias to enter and
 persist but actually generate this bias” (Wylie
     Historical Context
While a feminist anthropology of gender started in the
1970’s, gender in archaeology was much slower to take

                       Early work was done by Zihlman
                       and Tanner in the early 1970’s,
                        Clarke (1972), Flannery and
                         Winters (1976), and Sarah
                       Pomeroy who looked at gender in
                             the Mediterranean
The earliest gender conference in archaeology was held in Norway
in 1979 and published as “Were they all Men”, in response to “Man
                          the Hunter”

      Shortly afterwards, in the context of postprocessual
    archaeology the concepts feminist, or gender archaeology
             emerged as a bona fide sub-discipline

   While Joan Gero and Alison Wylie published an influential
   paper on gender theory in 1983, it was Margaret Conkey
    and Janet Spector’s article in 1984 that is credited with
        launching the current debates on gender theory
 - by taking to task how gender
and women had been addressed
    in archaeological research

   - stating that archaeology was guilty of substantiating a
“particular gender mythology [by promoting] a set of culture-
specific beliefs about the meaning of masculine and feminine,
 about the capabilities of men and women, about their power
  relations, and their appropriate roles in society” (Conkey and
                          specor 1984:12)
  That the profession was neither inclusive nor objective in
  its consideration of gender in the past, and that has been
 permeated with assumptions, assertions, and statements of
                      fact about gender

   The androcentrism took on several different forms,

1- imposition of ethnocentric gender roles and values on other

  2- that such roles were based on biological determinants
 That anthropological androcentrism placed more
  credence in the views of male informants then

  Resulting in that male perspectives are taken to be
representative of the culture, whereas the female view is
     typically portrayed as peripheral to the norm.

Becoming - “gender-exclusive rather than gender-inclusive
       reconstructions of past human behavior
 Thus - with a rigid division of labor based on sex resulted in
some artifacts being associated with one gender as opposed
                           to another

            =                         But - more importantly,
                                        it placed differential
                                         values on different
                                      activities - with activities
                                      associated with men as
                                        being more valuable
 Their review showed a professional literature couched in a
   manner that presents the female gender as limited to a
    number of domestic tasks, while the male gender was
portrayed as being involved in a wide range of valuable tasks

   The androcentric biases were so pronounced that “the
  contributions, activities, perceptions, and perspectives of
   females are trivialized, stereotyped, or simply ignored”
                                    (Conkey and Spector 1998:23)
Besides expressing concerns over interpretive bias based in
   androcentric and ethnocentric biases, and how they
  impacted scientific research, this first wave of gender
                   archaeology also -

Addressed how female archaeologists have been ignored by
        the history of our profession, as well as-

    - as issues of equity and equality
   within the profession, illustrated by
   inequities, sexism - and specifically
          with regard to fieldwork
This says it all -
The second major wave of feminist archaeology focused on
                 revisionist histories -

          By attempting to identify women in the
                 archaeological record -

To view women as active agents
 creating their own realities and
 resisting male oppression - and
by expanding our understanding
 or gender variability in the past
This resulted in a move away from the second wave of
gender research in archaeology and its “structuralist,
symbolic definitions of material culture” (Gilchrist 1998:52)

To a belief that gender is not a material correlate to
 be excavated, but rather looking at gender as a
 complex conceptual concept that is affected by
  issues of cultural expectations, age, class, and
          ethnicity and is highly strategic
Making gender as a process that is in a constant state of flux,
                    not a fixed state -

                 Included in this debate is -

 Questioning the proposition that women have always been
oppressed by examining the divergent roles that women have
       assumed as agents in systems of domination

 This third phase of an archaeology of gender underscores
the complexity of tying to answer such multifaceted research
           questions in the archaeological record
Part of this readdressing of women in the past includes -

    -Socialization, childhood and motherhood

    -Binary sets and public vs. private spheres

-Cross cultural
 and blurred
-Socialization, childhood and motherhood

 Western cultures
 generally derive
 gender from sex,
  and historically
recognize only two
  sexes and two
   A review of archaeological literature on motherhood and
 socialization presents a picture of women “restricted by their
biological characteristics associated with pregnancy, lactation,
 and childbirth, and circumscribed-almost immobilized-by their
                  presumed roles in childcare”
                                      (Conkey and Spector 1984:8)

                           “That child-rearing is a full-time,
                             exclusively female activity”
                                 (Conkey and Spector 1984:8)
      This has significant implications in
            evolutionary theory -

If - women’s work is the same, if it is unchanging throughout
                            time -

  Then that implies that “women work was not central to
culture and it could contribute to evolution,”
     and thus was not worth studding, or documenting
                                                (Baxter 2005:17)
      Two aspects of Motherhood
           -the biological and the social

Western perceptions of sex and gender have blurred the
      lines between the biological and the social

-Mycenaeans vs Minoans

  Binary sets and Public vs Private

Because we are left with one typological gender system in
use today - we are left with a much reduced “binary set of
  two types” that are in use in archaeological literature”
                                             (Seifert 1991:1)

 These include, Gender hierarchy and complementarity
                 of men and women
Gender complementarity - equality and interdependence of
both male and female gendered members - each having some
                complementary attributes

 Gender hierarchy - implies
  one gender exerting some
degree of dominance, control,
or oppression over the other
  This results in a“simple, binary-opposition model of
  gender roles; men hunt, women gather; men produce,
   women process; men are wage-earners, women are
    homemakers; men are active, women are passive”
                                          (Seifert 1991:1-2)

Resulting in expectation of “separate spheres,” or “public
 vs. private spheres of authority” where the “constrained
domestic sphere for women...contrast[s] with men’s public
                                           (Wright 1991:196)
   Perceptions of Gender

                             Boadicea of Iceni

Artemisia of halicarnassus
Cross- Cultural Comparisons

  -“Sex does not always determine
     gender among non-Western
    people,” nor does it in modern
  Western societies. It is important
   for archaeologists to recognize
 the difference to demonstrate that
  culture generates gender and not

                                       Crow two spirits, 1928

 - Wilk, 2003, Burg,
1983, Lindbaugh and
   Rediker, 2000
Methods for Studying
Gender in Archaeology
   There are 6 primary methods -

1- ethnography, including ethnohistory,
    comparative ethnographies, and
   ethnoarchaeological approaches
2- Skeletal and Mortuary Studies

3- Text-aided research, including the use of
            art, and mythology

 4- Iconographic

 5- Physiological studies

 6- comparative zoology and gross
Physiological Approaches
As you may have noted there are some physiological
   differences between male and female biology.

Sorry - we are going
  to focus on wiring
rather than plumbing
 Because inferring behavior from recent populations to
populations of archaic Homo sapiens is, controversial, at
                        best -

     Homo erectus
                          Homo habilis      Neanderthal

    Biological approaches to pre-modern hominid
  populations have contemplated the reasons behind
        the differences in modern populations
So, inferring that these differences are the result of millions
of years of natural selection - what are those evolutionary
 stimuli and how did they impact sexed populations and
    Bipedal Locomotion
  Lovejoy (1981)- bipedal locomotion was
 the prime mover in human evolution forcing
      humans into monogamous pairs
             BECAUSE -

Burdened by their biology, and reproductive
commitments, females had to stay home and
        take care of the children
Language and Social intelligence
Falk (2002) and Dunbar (1993)
Brain Development accelerated around 2 million years ago,
resulting in a doubling of brian size by 100,000 years ago -

 So -- one approach has asked what, assuming a common
      ancestor, is to look at behavioral differences.

Falk (1998) concludes that there are only two possibilities
“language and social intelligence,” with the conclusion that
     language is the smoking gun of human evolution.
 S0 - what’s the fit between data and theory - are gender
systems “genetically hard-wired” by an evolutionary past of
big game hunting and tool making by males, and dependent
             submissive childcare by females

  Roosevelt (2002)
     came to some
 different conclusions
 Roosevlet (2002) concludes that the gender systems
imposed on paleo hominids by researchers resembled
 or mirrored Victorian (355), and Roman gender vales
 of the “chaste and loyal...wife” (Tyldesley 2008:206, see also
                         Fletcher 2004)

  Rather than current
data from “anthropoid
   apes, hominid sites
   and skeletons and
living tropical forgers.”

“composed through complex,
      historically specific
 storytelling practices. Facts
are theory-laden; theories are
 value-laden; values are story
       (Sperling 1991:224)
Skeletal and Mortuary

 Without ethnographic
  temporal continuity -
   many processualist
    studies have used
   mortuary studies to
consider male and female
 gender systems in the
    past - specifically
    divisions of labor
                           Varna Necropolis
        Yet such approaches present concerns -

-System of Binary oppositions, what is not male is female

-Gender malleability

 -Who is assigning the grave goods to the burial

“burials are the results of the practices of mourners and not
 the deceased, and my be better viewed as a “reflection of
  adult remembrances,” as opposed to a reflection of the
                    deceased (Baxter 2005:94)
Hassan and Smith (2002) - predynastic Egypt -
Rubinson (2002) - Eurasian steppe, first millennium B.C.

               Skeletal material information
Nutritional evidence -

             Dental hypoplasia, Harris lines, cortical
               thickness of long bones, dental caries,
            vitamin deficiencies, access to protein and

Sexual dimorphism-

      Used to contrast differences in diet and workloads
Patterns of infection and disease -
        -discernible - staphylococcus, streptococcus, yaws,
                       syphilis and tuberculosis

Episodes of childhood stress -
         - Harris lines in the shafts of long bones, enamel
                         hypoplasia in teeth

Female parity and maternal behavior -

             - Amount of pitting along the dorsal border of
               the public symphysis, annular rings of tooth
                 cementum that form though out life, and
                   strontium to determine weaning age
Determination of mortality -

  Dance of the dead, the black plague

                                 Plague dead, UK
Iconographic -

Androcentric Biases -

 Inaccurate representations of ideal
      versus actual practices -

 Authorship -
Lepenski Vir or the Venus figurines of the
Upper Paleolithic in Northern and Eastern

    Who created them -

  Depending on gendered authorship, the
        interpretations change -
      Are they representations of male
     generated ideals of female sexuality
           based in reproduction

Venus of Brassempouy
                                                                Venus of Mikulov
                       Venus of Willendorf   Venus of Laussel

   Or, we interpreting a female gendered
representation of gender roles - or childbirth
  Classic Interpretations -

 “the point is not that art has never been gendered at all,
but rather that explanations of Upper Paleolithic art have
 been mindlessly gendered, according to Victorian norms
                         and ideals”
                                           (Nelson 2004:62)
     Examples for consideration -

Whitehouse’s consideration
(2002) of Grotta di Porto,
     Badisco Italy -
Susan Pollock’s (1991) study of women in
          Sumerian culture -

  Disjunction between the
 evidence presented by the
     depictions studied
 Ethnographic Methods
 “Almost all routes to gender in prehistory depend to a
  lesser or greater extent, and more or less explicitly, on
    ethnographic or ethnohistoric data for analogical
   comparisons” of gender associations with particular
        activities or materials. (Gero and Conkey 1991:19)

Based on accepting current gender systems in historical
 or contemporary societies and applying them to past
                  gender systems
But, more importantly, they are based on the conviction of
ethnographic sources are accurate and unbiased, and free
            from androcentric predisposition.

 The subtle, pervasive
gender biases present in
   past sociocultural
research has resulted in
 an overvaluing of male
    activities, and a
 devaluation of female
- !Kung Bushman
                               Colonialism, and

Impact of time and space present
   problems in reconstructing
 behavior, as does the impact of
colonialism on the archaeological
   populations being studies
                                   Impact of the Spanish
                                 conquest and imposition of
                                  Spanish customs, norms,
                                          and laws

 on Puebloan society. Yet early
researchers used a direct historic
 approach and did not take into
     account the impact of
Text-Aided Approaches

  Barbara Olsen’s
(1998) cross-cultural
 research on women
   and children in
    Minoan and
Mycenaean cultures
Scott (1991), Gender at Michilimackinac
         Jane Austen

“[men] have had every advantage of us in telling their story.
Education has been theirs in so much higher degree; the pen
   has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove
                anything”        (Austen 1818:242)
Material traces of gender
 Gender has always been accessible in the archaeological
 record, but for a number of reasons, as researchers,have
     ignored it (Wylie 1991), or failed to identify it -

             The question is how do identify it -

As you remember, gender research often involves inductive
              tests based on inferences

  As the quantity of diverse observations increase, multiple
lines of evidence, the relative strength of an explanation also
   - Even with the recent past, there are
  problems in identifying archaeological
 signatures of gender, specifically that of
      exclusivity of male or female use

Gender ideology predetermines gender
 roles and thus gendered artifacts. If
 gender ideology states that men and
not women were miners, then all mining
          artifacts are male.
- Mining in Australia (Fleming 2007)

- Harmony, North Carolina (Stine 1992)

- 18th century American Military Sites (Starbuck 1994)

  -Toys and gender in rural Victorian society (Baxter
 The material culture appropriate for identifying gender in
the archaeological record should be limited to artifacts that
  are “overwhelmingly” belong to male or female individuals
             (Jackson 1994; Lawrence 2000; Spude 2005)

        From there,
  researchers should be
        -                         what does that tell us
    able to expand the               about gender?
   artifact associations,
    both economic and
            Discussion, Thoughts -

Womanist Centered -

Behind “Closed Doors,” Public verses Private Faces -

Malleability -

Multiple Lines of Evidence, and Multiple Ways of Viewing
                       the Past -
Questions, Comments, Gestures

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