University of Michigan Press

Women and Culture Series

Published by: University of Michigan Press

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Women and Culture Series

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Centaurs and Amazons

Women and the Pre-History of the Great Chain of Being

Page duBois

In Centaurs and Amazons, Page duBois offers a prehistory of hierarchy. Using structural anthropology, symbolic analysis, and recent literary theory, she demonstrates a shift in Greek thought from the fifth to the fourth century B.C. that had a profound influence upon subsequent Western culture and politics. Through an analysis of mythology, drama, sculpture, architecture, and Greek vase painting, duBois documents the transition from a system of thought that organized the experience of difference in terms of polarity and analogy to one based upon a relatively rigid hierarchical scheme. This was the beginning of "the great chain of being," the philosophical construct that all life was organized in minute gradations of superiority and inferiority. This scheme, in various guises, has continued to influence philosophical and political thought. The author's intelligent and discriminating use of scholarship from various fields makes Centaurs and Amazons an impressive interdisciplinary study of interest to classicists, feminist scholars, historians, art historians, anthropologists, and political scientists.

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Our Sisters' Promised Land

Women, Politics, and Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence

Ayala Emmett

In this powerful and timely book, Ayala H. Emmett examines the political roles of women in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Emmett's insights come from numerous trips to the region that included in-depth interviews with many of the participants. Excerpts from the interviews give voice to the women who played vitally important yet often overlooked roles in the political transformations of the contemporary Middle East. Emmett's observations on women's actions in political venues have global implications, transcending the specific political and social contexts of the region and shedding light on both the strengths of female activism and the resistances of male political institutions. Emmett investigates the successes and failures of women in the Israeli political landscape, particularly the harassment experienced during the leadership of Right and ultra-Right groups before the ascension to office of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Her account of women's activism in Israel provides a rich backdrop for viewing the compelling events that have taken place in the Middle East throughout the 1990s and offer insights into the future of women's political activism, both in the ever-changing Israeli political climate and in the broader world of women in politics. "Brilliant in conception and theory, based on superb fieldwork, and clearly written for both specialist and non-specialist reader." --Maurie Sacks, Montclair State University "A groundbreaking study. . . .Ayala Emmett brings an unusual voice of clarity into the muddled politics of the Middle East. Where most studies ignore or marginalize women's role in the peace process, Emmett highlights women as political actors and shows their capacity to bridge the chasm between two hostile peoples." --Cynthia Saltzman, Rutgers University, Camden Ayala Emmett is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Rochester.

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Women of the Andes

Patriarchy and Social Change in Two Peruvian Towns

Susan C. Bourque and Kay Barbara Warren

Pilar is a capable, energetic merchant in the small, Peruvian highland settlement of Chiuchin. Genovena, an unmarried day laborer in the same town, faces an impoverished old age without children to support her. Carmen is the wife of a prosperous farmer in the agricultural community of Mayobamba, eleven thousand feet above Chiuchin in the Andean sierra. Mariana, a madre soltera—single mother—without a husband or communal land of her own, also resides in Mayobamba. These lives form part of an interlocking network that the authors carefully examine in Women of the Andes. In doing so, they explore the riddle of women’s structural subordination by analyzing the social, political, and economic realities of life in Peru. They examine theoretical explanations of sexual hierarchies against the backdrop of life histories. The result is a study that pinpoints the mechanisms perpetuating sexual repression and traces the impact of social change and national policy on women’s lives.

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