The 1970s brought another revolutionary development 

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The 1970s brought another revolutionary development in Anthropological Theory: the insight that most theoretical models of culture were based on the experiences of men.

The 1970s brought another revolutionary development

Module 4:  April 13-19

Title:  Women, Gender, Culture

Description:
The 1970s brought another revolutionary development in Anthropological Theory: the insight that most theoretical models of culture were based on the experiences of men.  When activists in the Second Wave of feminism turned to Anthropology for insight into the origins of gender inequality and explanations for the endless variation (and boring repetition) of gender inequity around the world, the discipline was forced to acknowledge the paucity of knowledge we had to offer.

This launched a new research focus, first into footnotes and hidden clues in extant ethnographic work (women’s activities were often lumped together into a single chapter on kinship and the family in ethnographic writing, with the exception of the Culture and Personality school) and then into new projects designed to account for women’s role in shaping culture.

Some researchers focused their attention on the sources of women’s power that had been invisible to researchers and others on the structures that oppressed women (and later by extension other gendered persons).  Together these studies substantially re-wrote not only the narrative of human evolution. But the contemporary research agenda of anthropologists studying every aspect of human existence.

The needs for such an agenda are endless because of the complexities of gender and sexuality.  Ponder the current climate for women in the United States and the role that gender is playing in national and local politics.  Clearly, we have many qualified women in every aspect of American life.  Why does it seem so unreasonable to expect that a woman could be president?  If we are so advance d, why haven’t we been able to pass an equal rights amendment to the constitution?

Learning Resources:

Readings
Slocum “Women the Gatherer”
Leacock “Interpreting the Origins of Gender Inequality”
Kwiakowski “Feminist Anthropology: Approaching Domestic Violence in Northern Vietnam”
Bollstorff “The Emergence of Political Homophobia in Indonesia:  Masculinity and National Belonging”

Due:  April 19. 3 pm
Posts on all readings

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