Session: #208

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Gender and Technology in Archaeological Studies of Everyday Life (AGE Session)
Feminist Technology Studies (FTS) have contributed to science and technology studies by examining how tool-use, work, and object production reflect gender differences. A more radical feminist perspective would argue that technologies in fact produce or mediate those differences. Yet archaeological studies of tool-making and work which examine chaînes opératoires (steps in the process of making objects) and les techniques du corps or bodily practice often overlook the complex relationship between gender and technology. In this session we invite participants to question and challenge models that subordinate the roles of women in technological production; or, conversely, which minimalize the cultural significance of ‘feminine’ or ‘domestic’ technologies and economies.
Archaeological research over the past several decades has demonstrated the centrality of technology in constructing historical ideas of gender, and of gendered ideologies in shaping archaeological approaches to politics, economy, architecture, and other spheres tied to technology. In particular, the concept of gynotechnics, referring to the ways that the labor of women constructed not only their embodied identities as women, but the moral universe of their society as well. We would extend the scope of this concept and invite session participants to investigate archaeological case studies of cosmotechnics: the role of technologies in constructing interlocking cosmologies at the scale of body, personhood, gender, space, and society. We aim for a session that problematizes the intersection of gender and technology in the multiple modes described above. We will examine both the important role of domestic/household/ “feminine” technological productions of cloth, pots, cooking and even reproduction within larger symbolic, ideological, and political contexts of ancient societies.
Gender, Technology, Radical feminism, Domestic labor, gynotechnics, cosmotechnics
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Main organiser:
Claudia Chang (United States) 1
Kathryn Franklin (United Kingdom) 2
Nona Palincas (Romania) 3
1. Independent Scholar
2. University London Birkbeck
3. Institute of Archaeology, Bucharest, Romania