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Feminism, Gender and the Body

Feminist analyses confront inequalities associated with gender and other forms of difference in the social world. Feminist archaeologists identify and seek to ameliorate inherent gender-based inequalities, both within the discipline and more widely. Their critiques have exposed the androcentric assumptions inherent in traditional archaeological practice and interpretation and have drawn attention to the complex ways in which gender intersects with class, race, age and sexuality to produce distinct subjectivities. In recent years there has been growing attention to the body in feminist research and a recognition that people become gendered subjects through repeated bodily performances that have material dimensions.

Archaeologists at Binghamton have embraced feminist scholarship that draws on several of these themes. Ruth Van Dyke's phenomenological research on inequalities at Chaco Canyon begins from the perspective of the human body moving through socially constructed spaces. The Ludlow Massacre during the Colorado Coal Field War of 1913-1914 is at the core of Randall McGuire's work on the lived experiences of women and families who helped to build class solidarity necessary for the strike.  Susan Pollock has explored the intertwining of gender and class in third millennium BC Mesopotamia through the medium of gendered representations in the form of burials and iconography. Siobhan Hart is examining how gender structures and intervenes in the social relationships of archaeologists and our contemporary partners in archaeological projects, including descendant communities, local residents, institutions and avocational archaeologists.

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Last Updated: 10/9/12