Our Gendered Past: Archaeological Studies of Gender in Southern Africa by Lyn Wadley
Wits University Press (30 October 1998)
Soft Cover, 388 pages
Gender stereotyping is, it seems, as old as the study of "man" and archaeologists are as guilty of it as any other section of the community. Labels such as "man the hunter" and "woman the child nurturer" had the effect of rendering women invisible in the archaeological record. Awareness of gender issues in southern African archaeology is relatively new and few publications have attempted to engender the past. The research documented here reveals that changes in gender roles and ideologies have been a natural part of southern African history for thousands of years and will continue to be a natural part of the historical process. The book focuses on the variability of gender roles through time, and on how these roles have played their part in shaping or maintaining social mores. It is a study which is of direct relevance to contemporary southern Africa where, through timidity, scepticism or ignorance, some still argue that "traditional" gender roles are "proper" and therefore immutable.