Rosemary A. Joyce
Martin Fieder and Susanne Huber
This chapter discusses, from an evolutionary standpoint, crucial factors influencing human reproduction. It emphasizes the importance of social status and homogamy on the level of the individual and raises the question how genetics and also epigenetics may contribute to explain human mate choice and fertility patterns. The chapter discusses the differential association of status with fertility for men and women, evolutionary reasons for the prevalence of homogamy along cultural traits and considers, on the level of genetics, the interplay of inbreeding and outbreeding. The role of mutations due to paternal age for human mate choice is debated. Finally, the chapter discusses the effects of early life conditions on later reproduction and also the role of epigenetics as a potential underlying mechanism. It is concluded that an evolutionary perspective helps explain reproductive patterns in modern humans and may thus make a valuable contribution in the assessment of urgent contemporary problems.
Caroline Dodds Pennock
Aztec culture has often been regarded as patriarchal but, although men controlled many traditional markers of influence in Tenochtitlan, women were powerful and effective figures, possessing tangible rights and responsibilities that were recognized as essential to society’s collective success. Two alternative models now dominate analyses of Aztec gender: parallelism or complementarity duality and fluidity. Although arguably women’s influence was gradually reduced by an increasing focus on military issues, scholars are now largely agreed that male and female roles were arranged into a binary system, each with its own sphere of responsibility and activity. Gender was socially conditioned from birth in Aztec culture and throughout the life cycle, while masculine/feminine pairings strongly shaped social, political, and religious structures. In a practical sense Aztec gender systems probably combined parallelism with a degree of hierarchy within which men and women were structurally equivalent rather than equal.
This article traces approaches to social space back to the 1950s and the subsequent pursuit of the ‘rise of privacy’. It then delivers a historiography of late medieval gender and space since the 1990s under three main themes: sacred spaces (churches, nunneries, and monasteries), vernacular architecture, and high-status residences including gardens and deer parks. It is noted that from the mid-1990s the impulse to make women ‘visible’ was largely replaced by an emphasis on differences—and similarities—among and between women, men, and other social categories and contexts, such as urban and rural, and that recent studies have moved on to explore the transgression of gendered boundaries. Methodologies such as access analysis are discussed and suggestions are made for future research, including the opportunities afforded by GIS.
Kristin Liv Rauch and Rosemary L. Hopcroft
This chapter presents an evolutionary theory of racial discrimination, human sociosexual dominance theory. This theory is built on the social dominance theory of Sidanius and colleagues, who note that sexually selected predispositions can account for the disproportionate experience of prejudice and discrimination by minority males, not minority females. This chapter goes beyond Sidanius and others by emphasizing that the operation of these evolved predispositions continues to limit mating opportunities for minority group males. The chapter also stresses how coalitions and culture are used as tools in this process. Examples pertaining to race relations in the United States in both the recent past and the present are presented to illustrate the utility of this biocultural framework.
Robert Jarvenpa and Hetty Jo Brumbach
Genetic and archaeological evidence indicates that South Asia was one of the world's most densely populated geographic regions in the Late Pleistocene. Genetic coalescence ages point to the colonization of the region by Homo sapiens between 70,000 and 50,000 years ago, corresponding with the Middle Palaeolithic stone tool industry. Middle Palaeolithic occupations occur prior to the Toba volcanic super-eruption of 74,000 years ago, suggesting Homo sapiens may have reached South Asia earlier. Populations emerging from Africa may have used coasts and transcontinental routes to disperse across the Indian Ocean rim. Indigenous South Asian hunter-gatherers survived the Toba super-eruption, and adapted to environmental changes across the Late Pleistocene. About 35,000-30,000 years ago, new cultural innovations appear that correspond with environmental deterioration, habitat fragmentation, and demographic increase. Lifestyles of foraging populations became increasingly heterogeneous during the Holocene. During the Middle and Late Holocene, foraging populations coexisted alongside complex urbanized state-level societies
There is a burgeoning interest in the variable ways in which past and present societies construct the notion of foetal and infant entities and the beginnings of personhood. The newborn baby has often been conceptualized as a tabular rasa, a blank slate, which progressively becomes moulded by biological, environmental, and social forces. Within this construct the infant is likened to clay and indeed this analogy is made explicit in early medical writings. However, infants are conceived and born into social worlds and these impact on their nascent identities whilst still in utero. Likewise, cultural beliefs concerning gender identity, reproduction, and the pregnant body may have biological repercussions for the developing foetus. This chapter aims to explore the interplay between the body and society in the formation and conceptualization of infant bodies in the past.
Man the Hunter, Woman the Gatherer? The Impact of Gender Studies on Hunter-Gatherer Research (A Retrospective)
The ‘Man the Hunter’ conference marked the beginning of hunter-gatherer studies as an area of inquiry across subfields of anthropology. The published volume appeared in the late 1960s during the second wave of feminism and inspired an immediate backlash against the sexist language and omission of women’s roles in hunting and gathering groups. A survey of publications beginning with Man the Hunter and the immediate responses through the publications from the Conferences on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS) and selected book-length works traces the increasing, if uneven, influence of gender studies in hunter-gatherer research.
David D. Franks
In this chapter, the different meanings of the terms sex and gender are discussed: Sex is biological, and gender has to do with social roles. Biological differences such as genes are discussed next, including a discussion of whether these differences should be considered as either/or distinctions or as continuums. Differences in social skills are discussed. Next, differences in the brain’s gray and white matter are explored. Various parts of the brain and the abilities they support are then presented. How sex differences in the brain complement each other is explored, as well as differences and overlaps. The implications for single-sex education are presented. Reasons to discuss brain differences and other differences follow, including sleep problems, anorexia, and bulimia. A subsection on memory and emotion follows.
During the centuries between the date of the mythical founding of Rome and the first decades of the sixth century AD when Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis was enacted, the legal condition of women underwent substantial transformation. To understand this process it is necessary to recall that during the first centuries of its history Rome was a patriarchal society, where only patres familias enjoyed full civil and political rights. Other members of the family enjoyed only certain rights, and some did not enjoy any at all. Over the centuries paternal authority underwent important changes, which in different ways limited it. Rome had grown from a small village of peasants and shepherds to a metropolis that ruled the world. Political, social, economic conditions (not to say mentalities and religious beliefs and practices) changed the way of thinking of the Romans, their way of life and their attitude and behaviour towards women.