Did Matriarchy Ever Exist?

Evening talk

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Chris Knight

Did Matriarchy Ever Exist?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 19:00

This lecture will discuss myths about a primordial matriarchy, stories which are found all over the world. Is there any truth in the idea that women once ruled the world? 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. We will discuss 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

A Christmas Fairy Tale: The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton St, off Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

This delightful fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm has become a RAG tradition, told every year on the last day of the autumn term, just before Christmas. It tells of twelve princesses and their periodic trips to the underworld, the narrator treating patriarchal marriage as a cruel punishment imposed on a coalition of sisters who had previously been free to dance the nights away. This magical tale introduces us to universal mythological themes which will be explored more fully in the Spring Term. Chris Knight will show how all such tales make sense in the light of the theory that human sexual morality was initially established by women.