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Feminist anthropology is a four-field approach to anthropology (archeological, biological, cultural, linguistic) that seeks to transform research findings, anthropological hiring practices, and the scholarly production of knowledge, using insights from feminist theory. [ citation needed ] recognized as a subdiscipline of anthropology. Since then, it has developed its own subsection of the American Anthropological Association – the Association for Feminist Anthropology – and its own publication, Feminist Anthropology. Their former journal Voices is now defunct.Simultaneously, feminist anthropology challenges essentialist feminist theories developed in Europe and America. While feminists practiced cultural anthropology since its inception (see Margaret Mead and Hortense Powdermaker), it was not until the 1970s that feminist anthropology was formally
Feminist anthropology has unfolded through three historical phases beginning in the 1970s: the anthropology of women, the anthropology of gender, and finally feminist anthropology.
Prior to these historical phases, feminist anthropologists trace their genealogy to the late 19th century.Erminnie Platt Smith, Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Matilda Coxe Stevenson, Frances Densmore—many of these women were self-taught anthropologists and their accomplishments faded and heritage erased by the professionalization of the discipline at the turn of the 20th century. Prominent among early women anthropologists were the wives of 'professional' men anthropologists, some of whom facilitated their husbands research as translators and transcriptionists. Margery Wolf, for example, wrote her classic ethnography "The House of Lim" from experiences she encountered following her husband to northern Taiwan during his own fieldwork.
While anthropologists like Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict are representatives of the history of feminist anthropology, female anthropologists of color and varying ethnicities also play a role in the theoretical concepts of the field. Hortense Powdermaker, for example, a contemporary of Mead's who studied with British anthropological pioneer Bronislaw Malinowski conducted political research projects in a number of then a-typical settings: reproduction and women in Melanesia (Powdermaker 1933), race in the American South (Powdermaker 1939), gender and production in Hollywood (1950), and class-gender-race intersectionality in the African Copper Belt (Powdermaker 1962). Similarly, Zora Neale Hurston, a student of Franz Boas, the father of American anthropology, experimented with narrative forms beyond the objective ethnography that characterized the proto/pseudo-scientific writings of the time. Other African American women made similar moves at the junctions of ethnography and creativity, namely Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus, both of whom studied dance in the 1940s. Also important to the later spread of Feminist anthropology within other subfields beyond cultural anthropology was physical anthropologist Caroline Bond Day and archeologist Mary Leakey.
The anthropology of women, introduced through Peggy Golde's "Women in the Field" and Michelle Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere's edited volume Woman, Culture, and Society , attempted to recuperate women as distinct cultural actors otherwise erased by male anthropologists' focus on men's lives as the universal character of a society. Male anthropologists, Golde argued specifically, rarely have access to women in tribes and societies because of the sexual threat they pose to these women. [ dubious ] The second anthropology of women would arise out of American engagements with Friedrich Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, arguing that this universal asymmetry was not timeless, but a product of capitalist relations that came to dominate the global mode of production through colonialism. As both approaches grew more vocal in their critique of male ethnographers' descriptions as one-sided, an 'add women and mix' approach to ethnography became popular, whereby women were not necessarily described at detail, but mentioned as part of the wider culture.As such, they receive the stories of men about women in instances when women are not present at all. The male anthropologists' ignorance and the indigenous men's domination congeal to create instances where, according to Rosaldo and Lamphere, the asymmetry between women and men become universal.
In the wake of Gayle Rubin and her critique of "the sex/gender system," the anthropology of women transformed into anthropology of gender. Gender was a set of meanings and relationships related to but not isomorphic with biological sex. Women was not a universal community or category that was self-evident.Following the rise of women of color feminism, the anthropology of gender critiqued the early goals of first-wave feminists and anthropologists as overly concerned with bourgeois social ambitions. It did so through a move from documenting the experience of women as a universal population to interpreting the place of gender in broader patterns of meaning, interaction, and power. This includes the work of women anthropologists Henrietta Moore and Ethel Albert. Moore contended that anthropology, even when carried out by women, tended to "[order] the world into a male idiom [. . .] because researchers are either men or women trained in a male-oriented discipline". Anthropology's theoretical architecture and practical methods, Moore argued, were so overwhelmingly influenced by sexist ideology (anthropology was commonly termed the "study of man" for much of the twentieth century) that without serious self-examination and a conscious effort to counter this bias, anthropology could not meaningfully represent female experience.
Today, feminist anthropology has grown out of the anthropology of gender to encompass the study of the female body as it intersects with or is acted upon by cultural, medical, economic, and other forces.This includes the expansion of feminist politics beyond cultural anthropology to physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archeology, as well as feminist anthropology becoming a site for connecting cultural studies, history, literature, and ethnic studies.
Feminist archaeology initially emerged in the late 1970s and early 80s, along with other objections to the epistemology espoused by the processual school of archaeological thought, such as symbolic and hermeneutic archaeologies. Margaret Conkey and Janet Spector’s 1984 paper Archaeology and the Study of Gender summed up the feminist critique of the discipline at that time: that archaeologists were unproblematically overlaying modern-day, Western gender norms onto past societies; for example in the sexual division of labor; that contexts and artifacts attributed to the activities of men, such as projectile point production and butchering at kill sites, were prioritized in research time and funding; and that the very character of the discipline was constructed around masculine values and norms. For example, women were generally encouraged to pursue laboratory studies instead of fieldwork (although there were exceptions throughout the history of the discipline)and the image of the archaeologist was centered around the rugged, masculine, “cowboy of science”.
Recently, feminists in archeology have started to confront the issue of sexual assault during "field work" through scholarly research on the social life of archeologists.The Biological Anthropology Field Experiences Web Survey, open to bioarcheologists, primatologists, and other subfields, revealed that 19% of women are sexually assaulted during fieldwork, with 59% of anthropologists—male and female—experiencing sexual harassment.
Feminist cultural anthropology deals with the concept of feminism through the lens of cultural anthropology. When combining these two fields of study, cultural anthropology can be approached in a non-binary way. New information pertaining to research and knowledge from a scholarly perspective also has no restrictions. This field of study may impact feminism and women and gender studies as well because it provides feminist analyses of culture from an anthropological perspective.
In the 1970s, women started attending undergraduate and graduate universities where the social sciences, which were at one time largely dominated by men, were now being practiced by men and women alike. With more women in the social science disciplines, they started having an impact on how some issues were being dealt with in the social science fields, such as the emphasis on gender studies and the integration of women’s rights issues into these studies.Women entering the social science fields had such a large impact on the feminist anthropology movement because before the 1980s, female anthropologists mostly focused on aspects such as family, marriage, and kinship. Many female anthropologists reacted to this stereotype placed on them, as they wanted to focus on broader aspects of culture in the scholarly community.
When feminist anthropology first developed, it was intended to be the subdiscipline of the anthropology of women. However, feminist cultural anthropology arose as a subfield itself when anthropologists started to realize that women's and gender studies weren’t published as frequently as other topics in anthropology.As feminist anthropology began being practiced by more people and cultural aspects such as race, values, and customs started being considered, focuses on personal identity and differences between people in varying cultures became the main idea surrounding feminist cultural anthropology. With this advance, female anthropologists started focusing on all aspects of gender and sex and how they vary culturally. With a focus on feminism through an anthropological lens, women’s role in society and their contributions to the social sciences formed itself a new subfield known as feminist cultural anthropology.
According to The Gender Sexuality Reader, modern anthropologists removed the father from the family without changing the basic social science concept of the family. The function of the family is child rearing, which is mapped onto a bounded set of people who share a place and love one another.Feminist anthropologists have found it difficult to apply the normal concept of family put forward by modern anthropologists as not all families display the same associated features.
Subjectivity has become an increasing focal point for both Feminist scholars and anthropologists, as the notion of the subject has been becoming the center of more and more social theories.This new shared interest between these two groups has been posited by Stevi Jackson as the reason for the new partnership between feminists and anthropologists, as ""Complex Subjectivity is relational and these relations provide the possibilities for both similarity and difference to emerge." Others argue that in order to move forward society there must be more focus on relationships of both similarity and difference, as produce in western theoretical practice and people's daily lives. Hybridity is considered by Jackson to be an important point within complex subjectivity, as it "is the mixing that brings forth new forms from previously identified categories."
Anthropologist and Feminist scholars have started to integrate the notion of the subject at the center of social theories, which Jackson states is complex because it discusses a notion of subjectivity that signifies society is moving away from what can be appropriately called the objective truth. This new idea of complex subjectivity is relational and these relations can provide the possibilities for similarities and differences to emerge.
The relationships of feminist anthropology with other strands of academic feminism are uneasy. By concerning themselves with the different ways in which different cultures constitute gender, feminist anthropology can contend that the oppression of women is not universal. Henrietta Moore argued that the concept of "woman" is insufficiently universal to stand as an analytical category in anthropological inquiry: that the idea of 'woman' was specific to certain cultures, and not a human universal. For some feminists, anthropologist Michelle Rosaldo wrote, this argument contradicted a core principle of their understanding of relations between men and women.Contemporary feminist anthropologist Marilyn Strathern argues that anthropology, which must deal with difference rather than seeking to erase it, is not necessarily harmed by this disagreement, but notes nonetheless that feminist anthropology faces resistance.
Anthropology engages often with feminists from non-Western traditions, whose perspectives and experiences can differ from those of white European and American feminists. Historically, such 'peripheral' perspectives have sometimes been marginalized and regarded as less valid or important than knowledge from the western world. Feminist anthropologists have claimed that their research helps to correct this systematic bias in mainstream feminist theory.[ citation needed ] On the other hand, anthropologists' claims to include and engage with such other perspectives have in turn been criticized - local people are seen as the producers of local knowledge, which only the western anthropologist can convert into social science theory.[ citation needed ] Because feminist theorists come predominantly from the west, and do not emerge from the cultures they study (some of which have their own distinct traditions of feminism, like the grassroots feminism of Latin America), their ideas about feminism may contain western-specific assumptions that do not apply simply to the cultures they investigate. Rosaldo criticizes the tendency of feminists to treat other contemporary cultures as anachronistic, to see other parts of the world as representing other periods in western history - to say, for example, that gender relations in one country are somehow stuck at a past historical stage of those in another. Western feminists had, Rosaldo said, viewed women elsewhere as “ourselves undressed and the historical specificity of their lives and of our own becomes obscured”. Anthropology, Moore argued, by speaking about and not for women, could overcome this bias.
Marilyn Strathern characterized the sometimes antagonistic relationship between feminism and anthropology as self-sustaining, since “each so nearly achieves what the other aims for as an ideal relationship with the world.".Feminism constantly poses a challenge to the androcentric orthodoxy from which anthropology emerges; anthropology undermines the ethnocentricism of feminism.
Feminist anthropology, Rayna Rapp argues, is subject to a 'double difference' from mainstream academia. It is a feminist tradition – part of a branch of scholarship, sometimes marginalized as an offshoot of postmodernism and deconstructionism and concerned with the experiences of women – who are marginalized by an androcentric orthodoxy. At the same time it addresses non-Western experience and concepts, areas of knowledge deemed peripheral to the knowledge created in the west. It is thus doubly marginalized.
Moore argues that some of this marginalization is self-perpetuating. By insisting on adhering exclusively to the 'female point of view', feminist anthropology constantly defines itself as 'not male' and therefore as inevitably distinct from, and marginal to, mainstream anthropology. Feminist anthropology, Moore says, effectively ghettoizes itself. Strathern argues that feminist anthropology, as a tradition posing a challenge to the mainstream, can never fully integrate with that mainstream: it exists to critique, to deconstruct, and to challenge.
Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
Misandry is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys in general. Misandry may be manifested in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, gynocentrism, matriarchy, belittling of men, violence against men, and sexual objectification.
Gender studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to analysing gender identity and gendered representation. It includes women's studies, men's studies and queer studies. Sometimes, gender studies is offered together with study of sexuality.
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, fictional, or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's and men's social roles, experiences, interests, chores, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology, communication, media studies, psychoanalysis, home economics, literature, education, and philosophy.
Feminist archaeology employs a feminist perspective in interpreting past societies. It often focuses on gender, but also considers gender in tandem with other factors, such as sexuality, race, or class. Feminist archaeology has critiqued the uncritical application of modern, Western norms and values to past societies. It is additionally concerned with switching a perceived androcentric bias in the structuring disciplinary norms of archaeology with a gynocentric bias within the profession.
Cultural feminism, the view that there is a "female nature" or "female essence", attempts to revalue and redefine attributes ascribed to femaleness. It is also used to describe theories that commend innate differences between women and men. Cultural feminism diverged from radical feminism, when some radical feminists rejected the previous feminist and patriarchal notion that feminine traits are undesirable and returned to an essentialist view of gender differences in which they regard female traits as superior.
Materialist feminism highlights capitalism and patriarchy as central in understanding women's oppression. Under materialist feminism, gender is seen as a social construct, and society forces gender roles, such as bearing children, onto women. Materialist feminism's ideal vision is a society in which women are treated socially and economically the same as men. The theory centers on social change rather than seeking transformation within the capitalist system. Jennifer Wicke, defines materialist feminism as "a feminism that insists on examining the material conditions under which social arrangements, including those of gender hierarchy, develop... materialist feminism avoids seeing this gender hierarchy as the effect of a singular... patriarchy and instead gauges the web of social and psychic relations that make up a material, historical moment". She states that "...materialist feminism argues that material conditions of all sorts play a vital role in the social production of gender and assays the different ways in which women collaborate and participate in these productions". Material feminism also considers how women and men of various races and ethnicities are kept in their lower economic status due to an imbalance of power that privileges those who already have privilege, thereby protecting the status quo. Materialist feminists ask whether people have access to free education, if they can pursue careers, have access or opportunity to become wealthy, and if not, what economic or social constraints are preventing them from doing so, and how this can be changed.
Nancy Julia Chodorow to Marvin Chodorow and Leah (Turitz) Chodorow in New York, New York. She is an American sociologist and professor. She describes herself as a humanistic psychoanalytic sociologist and psychoanalytic feminist. Throughout her career, she has been influenced by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Karen Horney, as well as feminist theorists Beatrice Whiting and Phillip Slater. She is a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and often speaks at its congresses. She began as a professor at Wellesley College in 1973, a year later she began at the University of California, Santa Cruz until 1986. She then went on to spend many years as a professor in the departments of sociology and clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley until her retirement in 2005. Later, she began her career teaching psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance. Chodorow is often described as a leader in feminist thought, especially in the realms of psychoanalysis and psychology.
Feminist sociology is a conflict theory and theoretical perspective which observes gender in its relation to power, both at the level of face-to-face interaction and reflexivity within a social structure at large. Focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status, and nationality.
Sheila Jeffreys is a former professor of political science at the University of Melbourne. An English expatriate and lesbian feminist scholar, she analyses the history and politics of human sexuality.
Michelle "Shelly" Zimbalist Rosaldo was a social, linguistic, and psychological anthropologist famous for her studies of the Ilongot people in the Philippines and for her pioneering role in women's studies and the anthropology of gender.
Since the 19th century, men have taken part in significant cultural and political responses to feminism within each "wave" of the movement. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in a range of social relations, generally done through a "strategic leveraging" of male privilege. Feminist men have also argued alongside writers like bell hooks, however, that men's liberation from the socio-cultural constraints of sexism and gender roles is a necessary part of feminist activism and scholarship.
Angela McRobbie, FBA is a British cultural theorist, feminist and commentator whose work combines the study of popular culture, contemporary media practices and feminism through conceptions of a third-person reflexive gaze. She is a Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Dame Henrietta Louise Moore, is a British social anthropologist. She is the director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College, London (UCL), part of the Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment.
Stevi Jackson, is an academic and writer working in the field of gender and sexuality. She has been Professor of Women's studies at the University of York, England since 1998, and is Director of the University's Centre for Women's Studies.
Smadar Lavie is a Mizrahi U.S.-Israeli anthropologist, author, and activist. She specializes in the anthropology of Egypt, Israel and Palestine, emphasizing issues of race, gender and religion. Lavie is a Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis, and a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Lavie received her doctorate in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley (1989) and spent nine years as Assistant and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She authored The Poetics of Military Occupation, receiving the 1990 Honorable Mention of the Victor Turner Award for Ethnographic Writing, and Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture receiving the 2015 Honorable Mention of the Association of Middle East Women's Studies Book Award Competition. Wrapped in the Flag of Israel's first edition was also one of the four finalists in the 2015 Clifford Geertz Book Award Competition of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion. She also co-edited Creativity/Anthropology and Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity. Lavie won the American Studies Association's 2009 Gloria Anzaldúa Prize for her article, “Staying Put: Crossing the Palestine-Israel Border with Gloria Anzaldúa,” published in Anthropology and Humanism (2011). In 2013, Smadar Lavie won the “Heart at East” Honor Plaque for lifetime service to Mizraḥi communities in Israel-Palestine.
Feminism is one theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, even though many feminist movements and ideologies differ on exactly which claims and strategies are vital and justifiable to achieve equality.
Feminist ethics is an approach to ethics that builds on the belief that traditionally ethical theorizing has undervalued and/or underappreciated women's moral experience, which is largely male-dominated, and it therefore chooses to reimagine ethics through a holistic feminist approach to transform it.
Woman, Culture, and Society, first published in 1974, is a book consisting of 16 papers contributed by female authors and an introduction by the editors Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere. On the heels of the 1960s feminist movement, this book challenged anthropology's status quo of viewing studied cultures from a male perspective while diminishing female perspectives, even considering women as comparatively imperceptible. It is considered to be a pioneering work.
The Association for Feminist Anthropology (AFA), a section of the American Anthropological Association, is an American professional organization founded in 1988 to support the development of feminist analytic perspective in all areas of anthropology.