Sheldon Lee Gosline (sgosline@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU)
Fri, 3 Dec 1993 15:59:53 +0200
I am preparing a book length manuscript and I am currently looking for
possible publishers. I would appreciate suggestions as to which
publisher(s) would be interested. Thank you. A general but incomplete
ARCHAEOGENDER: Studies in Gender's Material Culture
by Sheldon Lee Gosline
The Material Culture of Gender Process pp. 1-15
Recent theoretical models concerning gender deconstruct the
masculine/feminine and homosexual/heterosexual binary distinctions. The
assumed Western insistence that these are stable universal definitions has
been refuted. One analytical goal has been to separate gender from
politics, class, race, ethnicity, etc. Culture is being credited with
engendering different categories, schemata, and labels for framing sexual
Sexual impulse is itself seen as being constructed by culture and history.
Making a distinction between sex and gender distinguishes whatever
biological intractability sex appears to have from culturally constructed
gender. Thereby, gender within a given social paradigm is neither the
result of sex nor is it as fixed as sex. It does not automatically follow
that the construction of "men" will accrue to male bodies or that "women"
will interpret only female bodies.
Feminist Critique and Archaeogender pp. 16-45
For many feminists, exploring gender in the past is considered to
be a major focus for feminist archaeology. Others are interested in
exploring when sex became gendered. After some delay since Conkey and
Spector (1984) introduced the use of gender in archaeology, the topic has
finally inspired a large number of papers and a few publications in recent
years. Recently, the subject has received feverous attention despite a
lack of any particular focus or theoretical model.
What it means to be of a gender is really time and culture limited.
Gender ought not to be construed as a stable identity or locus of agency
from which various acts follow; rather, gender is an identity tenuously
constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized
repetition of acts, i.e.: culture.
Gender ontology, or the study of archaeogender, seeks to understand
the discursive production of the binary masculine/feminine relationship and
to suggest that cultural be given its due credit as an engendering force
which augments and consolidates the actual biological differentiations.
The function of archaeology in contemporary society has been raised with
the assertion that a largely unrecognized rationale for archaeology is
empirical substantiation of national mythology. This use of archaeology
reinforces ethnocentric and culturally hidden values.
Archaeologists have said some things about gender structures and
past behaviors even without a serious methodology but the results are
permeated with assumptions. The four following case studies are templates
for the study of archaeogender as remains of material culture. These
remains of the engendering process are expressed through artistic
representation, the artifacts of religion, the regalia of power, and the
ornaments of burial.
The Archaeogender of Representation: A Case from India pp. 46-100
The application of gender theory to the study of prehistoric
representations is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. Recent efforts
have been made to see how Upper Palaeolithic figures from Europe reflect
human morphology and social organization. Beyond the observation that both
sexes were represented and assumed gender roles seem to be supported, the
main conclusion is that women were privileged in a greater percentage of
representation. Prehistoric "art" has been used quite extensively to
promote a wide variety of theories concerning social organization and
cultural relationships, most of which can not be substantiated through
scientific analysis or ethnographic comparisons. Concerning the Indian
rock-shelter parietal paintings, strong ethnographic comparisons with
tribal people of India have been noted.
The Archaeogender of Religion: A Case from Egypt pp. 101-145
Historically, and not surprisingly, the field of Egyptology has been
less than fully willing to embrace the concept that women in ancient Egypt
held significant positions and status in any aspect of the religious
vocation. In particular, scholars in the field have been reticent to admit
that women were allowed to participate in the most sacrosanct aspects of
worship. However, as early as the Old Kingdom, hundreds of non-royal women
are known to have served in the priesthood of important goddesses like
Hathor and Neith.
The Archaeogender of Rule: A Case from Nigeria pp. 146-180
The material culture of rule is highly gendered. Traditional power
among the villagers of the Yoruba of Nigeria was held by secret societies
of village elders, known as Ogboni, who appropriate a cross-gender identity
to lay claim to authority. Through the initiation process, an individual
becomes united with the ancestral progenitors of the community who are
associated with the female goddess of the earth, Onile. While still alive,
these elder men are re-gendered through the Ogboni initiation process to
allow a cosmological union between the male cosmological zone and the
female realm of death.
The Archaeogender of Death: A Case from Israel pp. 181-205
The richness of Natufian symbolic behavior is extraordinary when
compared with what came before this period. Complexity of symbolic
behavior within prehistoric societies, where neither oral nor artistic
expression are preserved, can only be deduced from the material remains.
These include burials and their contexts, human and animal figurines,
engraved stone and ostrich egg-shells, and body decorations or ornaments
made of shells, bone, and stone pendants, beads, and the use of ochre.
Encoded in this material culture data is important archaeogender
Chapter Notes pp. 206-215
Bibliography pp. 216-230