In 2014, I began investigating the problem of safety in the field for female archaeologists working in the Middle East and North Africa. Although I have been working in Near Eastern archaeology since the mid-1980s, I had never considered this problem in a comprehensive way until I read the work done by four anthropologists, Kathryn B. H. Clancy, Robin G. Nelson, Julienne N. Rutherford and Katie Hinde. At the 2013 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Clancy stated that, “undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty report sexual harassment and assault not only by their peers, but by their bosses and mentors in the field.” She blogged about their work in Scientific American and the four collaborators published their research in PLOS ONE
Knowing that in our field, as well, things are less than ideal, I committed myself to doing what I could to make it possible for people to engage in fieldwork without fear of intimidation, harassment, and violence based on gender, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. In 2014, I was still a trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research – and I continue to chair its Initiative on the Status of Women. These positions have given me a platform from which to work – and fortunately, the ASOR community has been fully supportive. Continue reading Keeping Archaeological Field Work Safe from Sexual Harassment and Physical Violence
The “Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East” took place in Barcelona February 1-3, 2017. The workshop was hosted by IPOA, the Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies of the University of Barcelona (Spain), and organized in cooperation with the Centre of Excellence in “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions” (University of Helsinki, Finland). Organizers were Agnès Garcia-Ventura (IPOA, University of Barcelona) and Saana Svärd (University of Helsinki). The workshop was a continuation of the “First Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East.” The first workshop was organized by the same two scholars at the University of Helsinki in October 2014 and hosted by the Centre of Excellence in “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions.”
The aim of both meetings was to discuss different methodological and theoretical approaches to gender within the framework of ancient Near Eastern studies (including archaeology, art history and text studies) and to enable fruitful dialogue between these approaches. Moreover, for this second workshop, colleagues from neighboring disciplines were also encouraged to submit proposals, in order to enrich these conversations further. As a result, the second workshop included colleagues from the disciplines of Assyriology, Archaeology, Egyptology, Phoenician and Punic studies, and Biblical studies (See the full program: http://www.ub.edu/ipoa/Gender_bcn.pdf). Continue reading Report on the “Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East”
I am pleased to announce the commencement of a Virtual Reality that will add a queen character to the long-established virtual model of Nimrud’s Northwest Palace.
The Virtual Northwest Palace was established in the late 1990s, and has been expanded and developed since. It has been featured in classrooms, museums, and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. For a peak, check out this fly-through video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VCldg1TdHc
Missing from the virtual palace, in its present state, however, are any female characters. It is time to update our perceptions of history! Scholarship on Neo-Assyrian queens debunks old-fashioned visions of harems and establishes that royal women engaged in economic, diplomatic, and ritual activities. Within the palace, queens had their own scribes, managed their own households, and were vital counterparts to the king’s identity and authority. Continue reading A Virtual Reality Project: Introducing a Queen to Nimrud’s Northwest Palace
Masculinities and Third Gender: The Origins and Nature of an Institutionalized Gender Otherness in the Ancient Near East
By Ilan Peled
AOAT 435, 2016.
The aim of this book is to track a distinct human phenomenon in the history of the ancient Near East: persons who were born males, but under various social and historical circumstances their masculine identity was considered to be ambiguous. On the basis of this, these persons can be classified as belonging to a third gender They bore specific titles, and were engaged in cult or palace administration. The contexts of their documentation occasionally depict them as possessing or exhibiting traits that were uncharacteristic of the standard social expectations of men in Mesopotamia. The terms that describe these persons were grouped in numerous lexical lists, which supply us with the frame and boundaries of the present research. To a lesser extent, the grouping of these persons is apparent in narrative and literary compositions. The most notable of these titles were gala/kalû, assinnu, kurgarrû and lú-sag / ša rēši. Other similar titles that were documented less frequently were kulu’u, girseqû,tīru, SAG-UR-SAG, pilpilû, nāš pilaqqi, sinnišānu and parû. Their sexual and gender ambiguity was realized in numerous and diverse manners. Continue reading Ilan Peled: Masculinities and Third Gender
Session Chairs: Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Southern Methodist University.
Description: Session explores the interface between gender and archaeology, and the ways in which archaeology and related disciplines can reconstruct the world of women and other gender groups in antiquity. Papers should explore subjects such as the household and domestic life, industry and commerce, religion, etc. Other topics may also be included.
Deadline by February the 15th. Further details on submission guidelines and registration, on ASOR website.
Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East Universitat de Barcelona, February 1-3, 2017
Hosts: IPOA, Universitat de Barcelona and Centre of Excellence “Sacred Texts in Change” in the University of Helsinki
Conference venue: Universitat de Barcelona – Edifici Josep Carner (pl. Universitat, access through Aribau street, number 2), room 0.1 (ground floor). Nearest metro station: Universitat (lines 1 and 2) — Plaça de la Universitat – Google Maps
Organizers: Agnès Garcia-Ventura (IPOA, Universitat de Barcelona) / Saana Svärd (University of Helsinki)
Wednesday February 1st 2017
9.00-9.45: welcome and introduction
9.00-9.15: Welcome: Adelina Millet Albà, director of the IPOA
9.15-9.45: Presentation and introduction to the workshop: Agnès Garcia-Ventura & Saana Svärd, “Studying Gender in the Ancient Near East: An Introduction”
9.45-11.15: panel 1
9.45-10.15: Ann Guinan, “Dressing the Whore of Babylon for the 21st Century: Sex, Gender and Theory in Mesopotamian Studies”
10.15-10.45: Gioele Zisa, “Queering šà-zi.ga Therapy. Considerations on the Relations between Masculinity, Sickness and Anatomy” Continue reading Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near
Women in Antiquity: Real Women across the Ancient World
Edited by Stephanie Lynn Budin, Jean MacIntosh Turfa, 2016, Routledge
This volume gathers brand new essays from some of the most respected scholars of ancient history, archaeology, and physical anthropology to create an engaging overview of the lives of women in antiquity. The book is divided into ten sections, nine focusing on a particular area, and also includes almost 200 images, maps, and charts. The sections cover Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, Cyprus, the Levant, the Aegean, Italy, and Western Europe, and include many lesser-known cultures such as the Celts, Iberia, Carthage, the Black Sea region, and Scandinavia. Women’s experiences are explored, from ordinary daily life to religious ritual and practice, to motherhood, childbirth, sex, and building a career. Forensic evidence is also treated for the actual bodies of ancient women.
Continue reading S. L. Budin & J. MacIntosh Turfa: Women in Antiquity (Routledge)
Near Eastern Archaeology, special issue, Volume 79, Issue 3, september 2016
- Jane Peterson: Woman’s Share in Neolithic Society: A View from the Southern Levant
Early farming groups set into motion substantial, even revolutionary, socioeconomic changes dur- ing the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (ca. 10,500– 6,000 cal. b.c.e.) in the southern Levant of South- west Asia. Social organizational structures capable of addressing new opportunities and challenges would have been integral… ☛
- Maria Mina: Was It a Man’s World? Gender Relationships at the Transition to the Bronze Age in Cyprus
This article examines whether the apparently equitable gender relationships of the Chalcolithic period in Cyprus were replaced by gender in- equality in the Bronze Age. The discussion critiques the axioms … ☛
Continue reading NEA latest issue: Gender Archaeology
Richardson-Hewitt, Helen, Mervyn Richardson and Marten Stol. 2016. Women in the Ancient Near East. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter (Open access)
Women in the Ancient Near East offers a lucid account of the daily life of women in Mesopotamia from the third millennium BCE until the beginning of the Hellenistic period. The book systematically presents the lives of women emerging from the available cuneiform material and discusses modern scholarly opinion. Stol’s book is the first full-scale treatment of the history of women in the Ancient Near East.
“The Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale held in Paris in 2009 enabled Agnès Garcia-Ventura and Saana Svärd to realize they both had a common interest: gender studies. This common interest materialized in a joint project we launched in 2012. The aims of their project were, first, to discuss some possible methodological approaches to gender within the framework of ancient Near Eastern studies; and second, to create spaces where people interested in such discussions could interact with each other. With their contribution to this special issue of the Near Eastern Archaeology, Agnès Garcia-Ventura and Saana Svärd aim to offer a brief presentation of the genesis of their project, the initiatives carried on until now, the current state of research, and future prospects.”
Studying Gender in the Ancient Near East: First Steps and Future Prospects
Agnès Garcia-Ventura and Saana Svärd
Near Eastern Archaeology
Vol. 79, No. 3, Special Issue: Gender Archaeology (September 2016), pp. 222-223.