Did Matriarchy Ever Exist?

Evening class

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Chris Knight

Did Matriarchy Ever Exist?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 18:45

This lecture will discuss myths of matriarchy, which are found all over the world. Is there any truth in the idea that women once exercised political power over men? Many feminists have dismissed such stories as ideological narratives invented simply to justify men's rule. These scholars argue that biology prevents women from exercising real political power, that sexism prevails everywhere and that patriarchy has always existed. There will be discussion of the ethnographic, archaeological and genetic evidence for and against these ideas.

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Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Chris Knight

Australian Aboriginal Myths Of The Origins Of Fire
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Across Australia, Aboriginal myths say that during the Dreamtime, women held fire in their vaginas, hiding their firesticks whenever a man approached. The myths go on to say that one day, a male hero stole fire from women and handed it over to men. In this workshop, a number of different versions of the myth will be analyzed using the techniques developed by the founder of structural anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss. We will explore whether such myths help us to reconstruct changes in gender relations across Australia in the distant past.