Gender in Aboriginal archaeology: Recent research

23rd January 2014

Wendy Beck and Jane Balme

Introduction*

Gender is a socially defined category, based on enculturation of human sexual similarity and difference. As a primary structuring principle of all human societies, gender relations are now one of the most important constituents of human experience. The archaeology of gender places gender at the centre of questions about the past, but because the majority of theoretical research into gender has come from feminist research into women’s experiences rather than men’s, the emphasis in most archaeological research of gender has been on women. This work is about both women and gender, about both research into women as archaeologists and into women in prehistory. Gender in archaeology is one of the newest and most actively researched areas in the discipline with over 50 conference papers having been presented in Australia since 1991 (Balme and Beck in prep.; du Cros and Smith 1993a). The focus in this review is on Australian Aboriginal archaeology, but gender research has also been undertaken in Australian historical archaeology (e.g. Bickford 1993; Birmingham 1993; Hartley in prep.; Lydon 1993) and work has been done by Australians on the archaeology of gender elsewhere in the world (e.g. Europe: Moser 1993; Middle East: Webb and Frankel in prep.).

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Beck, W. and J. Balme
Gender in Aboriginal archaeology: Recent research
December 1994
39
39–46
Article
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