ANTHROPOLOGY 411 ********************** FALL
PEGGY R. SANDAY
ANTHROPOLOGY OF SEX, GENDER, AND POWER
[Antigone explaining to her uncle, the King, why she would rather die than break the law of the
gods in following his decree.] I didn't suppose your decree had strength enough, or you, who are
human [would] violate the lawful traditions the gods have...made infallible. These laws are not
for now or for yesterday, they are alive forever; and no one knows when they were shown to us
first. I did not intend to pay, before the gods, for breaking these laws because of my fear of one
man and his principles. I was thoroughly aware I would die before you proclaimed it; of course
I would die, even if you hadn't. Since I will die, and early, I call this profit. Anyone who lives
the troubled life I do must benefit from death. [Lines 550-570
Antigone by Sophocles, produced approximately 441 BC,
this translation by Richard Emil Braun, Oxford University Press, l973:39]
One of the underlying themes of this book has been to view the Trobriand universe within a
perspective that gives as much weight to the cosmic order as to the social order....Trobriand
women have power which is publicly recognized on both sociopolitical and cosmic planes....the
"discovery" that Trobriand women have power and that women enact roles which are
symbolically, structurally, and functionally significant to the ordering of Trobriand society, and
to the roles that men play, should give us, as anthropologists cause for
accepted almost without question the nineteenth-century Western legacy that had effectively
segregated women from positions of power. We have subjected early missionary and travelers'
documents to a careful evaluation of their bias toward the "native." But have we equally
considered the effects of their bias toward women? We have allowed "politics by men" to
structure our thinking about other societies; we have led ourselves to believe that, if women are
not dominant in the political sphere of interaction, their power remains at best peripheral. We
unquestioningly accept male statements about women as factual evidence for the way a society is
structured. We argue the problem of emic and etic, but not with reference to women's perception
of their roles. From this view, since we compare women to men in the context of politics, we
should not be surprised that we arrive at the almost universal notion
that women's status is
secondary to that of men. Annette B. Weiner, Women of Value, Men of Renown, l976, pages
This course is meant for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Only those
students with some background in the area of sex and gender studies are advised to take the
The course focuses on the interaction between language, social
organization, culture and
history in templates for sex, gender, and power that can be observed in selected historical and
contemporary societies. The material quoted above will give the student some idea of the
approach to be taken in the course: to understand issues of sex and gender we must go outside of
Western experience and epistemology, outside our usual conceptions of power, and try to
comprehend power as it is conceived, enacted, and discussed in societies reflecting histories very
different from our own. This approach provides an epistemological lens which we can then turn
on American society in an attempt to understand ourselves through the detour of understanding
TOPICS AND READINGS
(All readings at House of Our Own on Spruce Street-above 38th street, Bulk Pack, or University
Museum Library Reserve.)
Classes 1 and 2: ANCIENT ATHENS AND THE TROBRIANDS:THE COSMOLOGICAL AND SOCIOPOLITICAL POWER OF WOMEN
Readings. Class 1.
----Sophocles, Antigone. (House)
----"Themis," Ch. XI, pp. 480-535. In Themis, by Jane Harrison. New York: University Books, 1962. (BP)
Readings. Class 2.
----"Women of Value, Men of Renown: An Epilog," Ch 10, pp. 227-236. In Annette Weiner, Women of Value, Men of Renown. Texas: University of Texas Press, l976. (BP)
----The Trobriands of Papua New Guinea, Annette B. Weiner. New York:Holt, Rinehart & Winston. [Can be selected for book report.]
Recommended for Graduate Students"
----"Why Cloth? Wealth, Gender and Power in Oceania," pp. 37-72. Ch. 2 by Annette Weiner, in Cloth and Human Experience. Eds. Annette Weiner and Jane Schneider. 1989. Washington: Smithsonial Institution Press. (BP)
----Inalienable Possessions, Annette B. Weiner. California: University of California Press, l992. [Can be selected for book report.]
Class 3. THE MATRIARCHY CONTROVERSY..
Readings, Class 3.
----J.J. Bachofen, Myth, Religion, & Mother Right, pp. 69-120.(BP)
----Joan Bamberger, "The Myth of Matriarchy: Why Men Rule in Primitive Society," in Woman, Culture, and Society. Eds. Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo and Lousice Lamphere, Stanford, l974, pp. 263-280. (BP)
----Janet Hoskins, "Matriarchy and Diarchy: Indonesian Variations on the Domestication of the Savage Woman," pp. 34-56. In Myths of Matriarchy Reconsidered, Deborah Gewertz, Ed. Oceania Monograph 33. (BP)
----Michael Allen, "The 'Hidden Power' of Male Ritual: the North Vanuatu Evidence," pp. 74-97. in Gewertz, ed. (Hoskins above) (BP)
----Stella Georgoudi, "Creating a Myth of Matriarchy," in A History of Women in the West, Vol. 1. From Ancient Goddesses to Christian Saints. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 449-463. (BP)
----Peggy R. Sanday, "Matriarchy in West Sumatra: An Old Debate in a New Light" (Download from webpage)
CLASS 4. ETHNOGRAPHIC ANALYSES OF FEMALE POWER.
Readings, Class 4.
----Peggy Reeves Sanday and Ruth G. Goodenough, Beyond the Second Sex. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, l990. (House)
----Scripts for Female Power; Scripts for Male Power. Chs. 1 and 2 (pp 15-54) in Female Power and Male Dominance. New York: Cambridge University Press. (BP)
ASSIGNMENT #1 DUE. ANSWER QUESTION: HOW DO THE
CONCEPTIONS OF POWER IN THE ABOVE READINGS
WORK TO HIGHLIGHT OR HIDE FEMALE STATUS AND
POWER IN SOCIETY? (5 PAGES)
Class 5: The BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION vs THE ROLE OF CULTURE.
Readings, Class 5.
----Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender: Biological Theories aboutWomen and Men. l992 (Revised Ed). New York:Basic Books. (House)
----Clifford Geertz, "The Growth of Culture and the Evolution of Mind," pp. 55-86. In The Interpretation of Cultures, by Clifford Geertz. l973. New York: Basic Books. (BP)
CLASS 6. MODELS OF GENDER AS A CATEGORY FOR
Readings, Class 6.
----Sherry B. Ornter and Harriet Whitehead. "Introduction: Accounting for Sexual Meanings," pp. 1-28. In Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1981. (BP)
----Joan Scott. "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Anaysis," American Historical Review 91 (l986). (BP)
----Shelly Errington. "Recasting Sex, Gender, and Power: A Theoretical and Regional Overview," pp. 1-58. In Power and Difference: Gender in Island Southeast Asia. Eds. Jane Atkinson and Shelly Errington. Stanford: Stanford University Press, l990. (BP)
----Peggy Reeves Sanday. Introduction in Beyond the Second Sex, Peggy Reeves Sanday and Ruth G. Goodenough, eds. Philadelphia: University of Pennslyvania Press, l990.(House)
----Jane Fishburne Collier and Sylvia Junko Yanagisako. "Toward a Unified analysis of Gender and Kinship," pp. 14-52. In Collier and Yanagisako, Gender and Kinship: Essays Toward a Unified Analysis. Stanford: Stanford University Press, l987.(BP)
Class 7. THE ROLE OF LANGUAGE.
Readings, Class 7.
----Roland Barthes, Mythologies. l972. New York: Hill and Wang. (House)
----Susan Gal, "Between Speech and Silence: the Problematics of Research on Language and Gender," pp. 175-203. In Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era. ed. by Micaela di Leonardo. l991. Berkeley: University of California Press.(BP)
Class 8. SEX AND POWER 1
Readings, Class 8.
----Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang, eds. Two-Spirit People:Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and spirituality. University of Illinois Press.(House)
----Don Kulick and Margaret Wilson, eds. Taboo: Sex, Identity and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork London: Routledge Press, 1995. (House: Recommended)
Class 9. SEX AND POWER 2
Readings, Class 9.
----Peggy Reeves Sanday, "A Discourse-Centered Approach to Human Sexuality," Keynote address given at Rutgers University Graduate Student Conference, Contemplating Sex. March l996. Download from web page.
----Peggy Reeves Sanday. Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood and Privilege on Campus.
----Peggy Reeves Sanday. "The Sociocultural Context of Rape:A Cross-Cultural Study," Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 37, pp. 5-27, l981. (BP)
CLASS 10. CONTEMPORARY CONCERNS: WOMEN
WRITING CULTURE AND WOMEN IN THE FIELD.
Readings, Class 10.
----Ruth Behar and Deborah A. Gordon, eds. Women Writing Culture. 1995. Berkeley: University of California Press.(House)
CLASS 11. CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES: ETHNOGRAPHY IN
Readings, Class 11.
----Faye Ginsburg & Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, eds. Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture. l990. Boston: Beacon Press.(House)
CLASS 12. THE NEXT STAGE: THE GLOBAL
Readings, Class 12.
----Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp, eds. Conceiving the New World Order: The Global Politics of Reproduction. 1995. Berkeley: University of California Press.(House)
ASSIGNMENT #2 DUE. RESEARCH PROPOSAL ON SOME ASPECT OF SEXuality/POWER/and or GENDER OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO YOU. Suggested Outline for paper: Introduction [what you want to research and why]; Related literature and theory; Population you intend to study; Methodology; Significance. (5-7 pages)
CLASSES 13-END. SPECIAL ISSUES AND SELECTED BOOK REPORTS. THE LAST TWO CLASSES WILL BE RESERVED FOR SPECIAL ISSUES THAT COME UP, DISCUSSION, OR BOOK REPORTS OF INTEREST TO THE CLASS AS A WHOLE.
ASSIGNMENT #3. BOOK REPORT (WRITTEN BOOK REPORT: 3-5 PAGES)
The book reports can be chosen either from the following list or students may select another book of interest to them.
Richard C. Trexler, Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas. 1995. New York: Cornell University Press. (History: On Reserve)
Eva C. Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens. l985. New York: Harper & Row. (History)
Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. l990. Cambridge:Harvard University Press. (History)
David M. Halperin, John J. Winkler, and Froma I. Zeitlin, eds. The construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World. l991. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex." l993. New York: Routledge. (Language and Discourse--U.S.)
Karin Barber, I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Oriki, Women and the Past in a Yoruba Town. l991. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution Press. (Ethnography, Language and Discourse-- West Africa)
Jane Monnig Atkinson and Shelly Errington, eds. Power and Difference: Gender in Island Southeast Asia. l990. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Ethnography and Gender Theory--various Indonesian societies.)
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an Out-of-the-Way Place. l993. Princeton: Princeton University Press.(Ethnography: Ethnicity, state rule, and gender differentiation--South Kalimantan, Indonesia.)
Adele M. Stan, ed. Debating Sexual Correctness:Pornography, Sexual Harassment, Date Rape, and the Politics of Sexual Equality. l995. New York: Delta. (Ethnography and Sexual Politics--U.S.)
Peggy Reeves Sanday, A Woman Scorned: Acquaintance Rape on Trial. l996. New York:Doubleday. (On Reserve)
FINAL EXAM: ANSWER QUESTION: HOW WOULD YOU USE THE MATERIAL COVERED IN THIS COURSE IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSION RELATIONSHIPS: FOR EXAMPLE, AS A TEACHER, IN THE WORKPLACE, WITH A FRIEND, OR AS A PARENT. CHOOSE WHATEVER CONTEXT(S) ARE MOST RELEVANT FOR YOU AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR LIFELIST OF BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR THIS COURSE IN HOUSE OF OUR OWN BOOKSTORE. [LOCATED ON SPRUCE ABOVE 38TH, ON LEFT SIDE OF STREET]
RECOMMENDED FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS:
Don Kulick and Margaret Wilson, eds. Taboo:Sex, Identity and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork. London: Routledge Press, l995.