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
Time and place:
Sep 11, 2016 – Sep 13, 2016, The Norwegian Institute at Athens, Greece
The Norwegian Institute in Athens, in collaboration with the Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo, would like to announce the call for papers for the interdisiplinary conference «Hierarchy and Equality – Representations of Sex/Gender in the Ancient World». We invite scholars with a material and/or theoretical interest in sex/gender, or in social structures based on gender distinctions. We hope to explore more broadly what was “before sex”, i.e. the modern reproduction-based two-sex model (Laqueur), and seek possibly even more fruitful ways to approach sex/gender in the ancient world. We encourage contributors to approach a variety of records and explore hypotheses outside of the established scholarly consensus on ancient understandings of sex/gender. We also encourage papers that reflect on the extent to which modern notions of sex/gender affect our reading of the past.
Continue reading Hierarchy and Equality – Representations of Sex/Gender in the Ancient World
The volume has two main aims. First, it presents the available textual evidence relating to women in the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 930-610 BCE). Second, it evaluates the power relationships that these women were engaged in.
Power in general and women’s power in particular has been understood mostly in a hierarchical way in earlier research on Mesopotamian women. Hierarchical power structures were important in Mesopotamia, but other kinds of power structures existed as well. In addition to discussing hierarchical power relationships, this study draws attention to heterarchical power relations in which women were engaged in Neo-Assyrian palace milieu.
Heterarchical power relations include power relations such as reciprocal power, resistance and persuasion. Although earlier research has certainly been aware of women’s influence in the palaces, this study makes explicit the power concepts employed in previous research and further develops them using the concept of heterarchy. Continue reading Svärd: Women and Power in Neo-Assyrian Palaces