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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Archaeology of Gender (PGHC11061)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn this course we shall examine some of the widespread and unmediated assumptions concerning the roles of men and women which have shaped, and continue to shape, scholarly and popular perceptions of the past. We will also explore the ways in which gender archaeology is shedding new light on social relations of ancient societies. Specific examples of archaeological research on gender will be drawn from prehistoric and proto-historic sites in Europe, the Mediterranean and the ancient Near East.
Course description Perhaps the main objective of this course is to develop and expand our critical awareness of the normative gender structures in modern western society and their influence upon archaeological theory and practice and the interpretation of material and biological evidence of past cultures. The interpretation of gender as a dynamic, culturally constructed phenomenon rather than a fixed social category, as well as appreciating the importance of contextual evidence for interpreting past gender roles, also figures largely in the overall aims of the course. Particular emphasis will be placed on recent ('third wave') approaches in the archaeology of gender that have moved away from earlier binary categories (such as man/woman, nature/culture, hunter/gatherer, etc.) to embrace concepts of ambiguity, multiplicity and difference. This requires us to think critically about the ways in which archaeological evidence has been used to sustain and legitimise gender constructs in the modern world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an overall knowledge of gender and feminist theory over the last 50+ years, as well as a critical understanding of its application to archaeological research in European and Near Eastern prehistory
  2. Demonstrate in small-scale workshop discussions an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon recent approaches in the archaeology of gender and their relevance to specific periods, areas and/or themes in archaeological excavation and research; this will involve a critique of gender bias in archaeological reporting and an understanding of the ways in which gender-based approaches can contribute to a more agent-based understanding of past societies.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions, presentations, and a written essay by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course.
  4. Demonstrate in presentations, group discussions and written work the ability to critically analyse archaeological reports and interpretative works from the perspective of gender theory; this involves originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
Bolger, D., ed. (2013) A Companion to Gender Prehistory. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Bolger, D., ed. (2008) Gender through Time in the Ancient Near East. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Conkey, M. and J. Spector (1984) Archaeology and the study of gender. Pp. 1-38 in M. Schiffer (ed.) Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 7. New York: Academic Press.

Gero, J. and M. W. Conkey, eds. (1991) Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory. Oxford: Blackwell.

Gilchrist, R. (1999) Gender and Archaeology: Contesting the Past. London: Routledge.

Hays-Gilpin, K. A. (2004) Ambiguous Images: Gender and Rock Art. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Joyce, R. (2008) Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives: Sex, Gender and Archaeology. London, Thames & Hudson.

Moore, J. and E. Scott, eds. (1997) Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. London: Leicester University Press.

Nelson, S. M. (1997) Gender in Archaeology: Analyzing Power and Prestige. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Nelson, S. M., ed. (2006) Handbook of Gender in Archaeology. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Peterson, J. D. (2002) Sexual Revolutions: Gender and Labor at the Dawn of Agriculture. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Sorensen, M. L. S. (2000) Gender Archaeology. Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The timetable is arranged annually;
KeywordsArchaeology Gender
Course organiserDr Diane Bolger
Tel: (0131 6)50 4140
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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