“Exploring Sex and Gender in Bioarchaeology”: Some comments

April 2, 2011

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Just back from the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, where I had the pleasure of being a discussant on a session organized by Sabrina Agarwal and Julie Wesp. Since my comments run to 2200 words, no way to post them and no point either– who would read them? But here are some […]

Burying the dead (at Tlatilco and elsewhere)

March 19, 2011

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I read a wide swath of archaeological news every day, and this past week the news I am reading has been resonating– or really, has presented a counterpoint to– the writing I have been doing myself. Because, as is typical, many of the news stories I am reading are about finds of human remains, which […]

More Penis Spines!! (or maybe that should be penis bumps)

March 12, 2011

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OK. I will admit that when I wrote the previous post– and the other one about the Nature report over at What Makes Us Human on Psychology Today, where I was perhaps a little more restrained– I did not think it would become a continuing series. But thanks to a wonderful reader over at PT, […]

Penis spines! (oh, and something about brains too…)

March 10, 2011

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Nature‘s editors and authors tried, they really tried, titling the report published yesterday “Human-specific loss of regulatory DNA and the evolution of human-specific traits”. But from the earliest news report I can find (yesterday on Science 2.0, titled “Why Your Penis Has no Spine”) through to the raft of articles today, reporters have had their […]

Sex work and archaeology

March 5, 2011

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Why are brothels such a common focus of archaeologies of gender? This question was spurred by reading the most recent news coverage about research directed by Mary Beaudry of Boston University on artifacts recovered at the Mill Pond site during the “Big Dig”, massive excavations that were required to place freeways underground. Back in October […]

Collateral damage: Egyptian archaeology

February 5, 2011

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What are we to make of reports that “one of the few ancient Egyptian tombs devoted solely to a woman”, the tomb of Maia, wet nurse to Tutankhamun, was “completely destroyed”? First, I would not want to over-react, or be drawn into what is essentially a reactionary script that elevates the importance of things over […]

Posted in: archaeology, gender, history

British, Roman, or African? On race, ethnicity, and nationality

January 26, 2011

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The past was not full of homogeneous towns. People in the past were not uniform in their cultures, their sexualities, or their subjective experiences. If I have one goal in my teaching– one goal in my writing– it would be to get that point across, so that finding difference in past populations would be expected, […]

Roman Sex, Online and Broadcast

January 18, 2011

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“We end with pepper, and we’re going to begin with porn.” Now, that’s an eye-catching sentence. Or really, since this is a broadcast made available by BBC Radio, an ear-catching sentence. In 2010, the BBC collaborated with the British Museum to produce a history of humanity– through descriptions of 100 objects. The series is fabulous […]

Mothers, babies, and the origins of human society

January 10, 2011

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I am used to reading media coverage of research and wincing about the unexamined gendered assumptions embedded in stories. So when I began browsing coverage of new research by Boston University’s Jeremy DeSilva, I braced myself. But guess what? somehow, at least the first reporting has managed to avoid cliche and stereotype. DeSilva developed a […]

Posted in: biology, gender

Dressing for the Pleistocene

January 7, 2011

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I have been writing about the archaeology of the body for a long time. My route to this topic started with thinking about gender as a repeated way of acting (following Judith Butler). I became especially interested in Butler’s concept of citationality– the idea that each person strives to do gender as it has already […]