Browsing All Posts filed under »sexuality«

Are dead babies good evidence for a Roman brothel?

June 25, 2010


That’s the question raised by a BBC story about analyses of materials from an almost century-old excavation at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley. The data: remains of 97 infants, all of whom died close to birth. The coincidence suggests deliberate killing of newborn babies. Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers said: “The only explanation you […]

Sex Work on the Barbary Coast: Anatomy of a Final Group Project

May 17, 2010


How do students develop an outstanding final group project? My example here is from spring 2008, research culminating in a video made by the students in the section as they walked through San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, locating buildings that served as brothels and streets that were once centers of sex work. San Francisco’s Historical Society […]

Sex and gender: what makes for a successful final project?

May 13, 2010


Ideally, a student final project proposal would show a degree of understanding of concepts presented in the class, but would extend them in some way. For my project, I would like to learn more about the galli of ancient Rome, whom I read about in my article for Project Benchmark I. They are interesting because […]

Approaching sex through archaeology: celibacy and sex

May 8, 2010


By the last week of the third part of the course, students are finally ready to begin to address one of the major drawbacks of much of the archaeology of gender: the way it elides sexual practices and experiences. By juxtaposing archaeological, art historical, and documentary history approaches to sex work and celibacy, we leave […]

Approaching sex through archaeology: third genders and beyond

May 5, 2010


Returning to a theme from the previous week, third genders, I begin my discussion of method and theory and how they change what archaeologists think we can do with a reconsideration rooted in Sandra Hollimon’s work on Chumash society of California. In Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives, I describe what Hollimon sketches out in a series […]

Approaching sex through archaeology: methods and theories

May 4, 2010


My Discovery course at Berkeley, “Archaeology of Sex and Gender”, is taught over a 15 week semester. The first two sections of the course, “Thinking about sex and gender: disciplinary approaches” and “Sex and gender in the past: regional traditions” can stand alone as a one-quarter course at colleges that use the quarter system. Together, […]

Native North America: from bodies to practices

May 2, 2010


The last case study that I incorporate into the middle section of my course, Archaeology of Sex and Gender, draws on the archaeological, bioarchaeological, historical and ethnographic record from Native North America. The emphasis on the widest possible range of disciplinary perspectives is critical, to remind students of the differences in perspectives and methods that […]

Classic Maya: sexual bodies

May 1, 2010


In Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives, I draw on my own work on Classic Maya sex/gender in Chapter 3, which deals centrally with sexuality in hierarchical societies. In addition to asking students to read Chapter 3 in the book, I selected a group of articles that all explore the way idealized, sexualized bodies were represented in […]

Classical bodies

April 30, 2010


Classical studies are a rich source of potential material, and many students have some level of comfort with these societies. So I use this material to add to the previous contrast of archaeology/art history an additional dimension, documentary history. David Halperin’s article “Why is Diotima a Woman?” appears on many reading lists in history of […]

Getting a little less comfortable: Egypt and Mesopotamia

April 29, 2010


Each regional traditions segment moves further outside what students may consider their comfort zone. Each also includes articles selected to focus attention on specific contrasts and specific issues. The second group of articles deals with Egypt and Mesopotamia, societies routinely taught in K-12 curricula in the US. I use three articles that all deal in […]