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WOMEN IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION [Study Guide 1]

WOMEN IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION [Study Guide 1] - WOMEN IN...

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WOMEN IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION overview of women’s social, legal and political status in the West women’s assigned roles in religion, the family, the workplace, and political life changing nature of “woman’s place” in each period of history conflicting expectations for women of different class and race identities  Prehistoric Images of Women Eisler ; Chapters 1 & 2 Chapter 1: Journey into a Lost World: The Beginnings of Civilization  The Paleolithic “old stone age” ; the period between about 2.5 million and 20,000 years ago ; up to 10,000 BCE.  awe at both the mystery of life and the mystery of death widely held belief that the dead can return to life through rebirth association of the powers that govern life and death with woman association of the feminine with the  power to give life (in Paleolithic burials) cowrie shells-on and around the corpses, shaped in the form of a portal through which a child enters the  world, associated with early worship of a female deity, life-giving agent red ocher-representative of the menstrual blood of woman, symbolize the vitalizing power of blood rites seemingly designed to encourage the fecundity of the wild animals and plants that provided our  forbearers with life support  same source from which human life springs is also the source of all vegetable and animal life-the great  Mother Goddess or Giver of All; all nature treated with respect conventional stereotype of earlier scholars—>saw Paleolithic art in terms of: primitive man:  bloodthirsty, warlike hunters, male centered theories. One of their assumptions is that only prehistoric  man was responsible for Paleolithic art. This was not based on any factual evidence. Women, not men  do rock painting (pp. 3) Arrows, barbs, spears, harpoons can just as easily be plants, trees, branches, reeds, and leaves  [Paleolithic cages, engravings, rock paintings]  “…[t]he traditional view of Paleolithic art as primarily primitive hunting magic can be seen as  projection of stereotypes rather than logical interpretation of what is seen. And so also can the  explanation of Paleolithic female figurines as either obscene male sex objects or expressions of a  primitive fertility cult.” [pp. 5]  Paleolithic art expressed some form of early religion in which feminine representations and symbols  played a central part.  female figures and symbols were located in a central position in excavated chambers; masculine  symbols occupied peripheral positions or arranged around female figures and symbols. 
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