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discussion article

A. Bernard Knapp W h o ' s c o m e a l o n g w a y , b a b y ?

Masculinist approaches to a gendered archaeology

How 'progressive' have archaeologists been in the progress made on gender studies during the 1990s? All
archaeologists, male and female, must accept the need to theorize gender, and to rethink accordingly their
traditional research priorities. Feminist theory is essential for the study of gender in archaeology because it
has paid closer attention to gender as an analytical category than any other body of theory, and at the same
time made important links within and between disciplines. Most male archaeologists have been recalcitrant
if not loathe to focus on gender as a key concept in archaeological theory, even though writers treating 'mas-
culinity' in the social sciences and literary theory have been active in this field for over a decade. This study
discusses masculinist reactions to feminism and suggests that 'masculinist' approaches are derivative of femi-
nist scholarship. Perhaps the most important contribution of masculinist scholarship has been to insist upon
the existence of divergent, multiple masculinities, and by extension femininities, as opposed to binary oppo-
sitions or ideal types. The study of men and masculinities, of women and femininities, involves consideration
of social and gender issues that should not become the exclusive domain of either women or men - the goal
is an archaeology informed by feminism, one that looks critically at theories of human action and allows
archaeological data to challenge existing social theory.

masculinist; feminist; gender; archaeological theory; postmodernist

...many men feel that they are not in a position to engage in these issues and that only
other women can do so. This exclusivity is not conducive to scholarly development;
neither is failing to counter claims of a gendered superiority supported by 'scientific'
archaeology that ultimately has filtered into mainstream society. An engendered re-
balancing of the scales is long overdue and critically important to the trajectory of the 91
discipline. (Meskell 1995, 84)


During the 1990s, archaeologists have made considerable progress in studying gender, espe-
cially given their comparatively late start vis-a-vis several other fields. But how 'progressive'
has such research been? And how effectively has it impacted archaeology? Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

The material world, present or past, is imbued with social structures that people invest with
social and symbolic meanings. Archaeological data are not simply a static residue of past social
dynamics, but rather are the remnants of certain media through which social discourse was
constructed (Barrett 1988, 9). The material world, in other words, is not just a passive medi-
um for social action, but rather a set of forces that affects human action in personal, spatial,
temporal and even psychological ways (Gosden 1994,16). Archaeological data, therefore, pro-
vide a major source for studying not just technology, the economy, or symbolism, but also
social signification, cognition, class and gender.
Archaeologists, female and male, must realize the importance of theorizing gender, and
rethink accordingly their traditional research priorities and writing styles, as well as the
objects and subjects of their study. If I seek here to introduce a masculinist subject into a gen-
dered archaeology, there is no intention of implying a corollary feminist object. O n the con-
trary, feminist theory has formed the basis for studying gender in archaeology and anthro-
pology because it has paid closer attention to gender as an analytical construct than any other
body of theory; at the same time it has made important links within and between various
disciplines. An archaeology informed by feminist theory takes gender as a critical variable or
organising principle of society, and challenges existing disciplinary paradigms and structures
of knowledge. This paper attempts to outline some of the most important, and the most
problematic, aspects of a gendered archaeology. It characterizes in passing various approach-
es to gender studies in anthropology and social theory. More importantly, it argues that the
study of gender or sex must become more inclusive, must engage both feminist and mas-
culinist perspectives, and must find a positive reception within mainstream archaeology in
very short order.
My use of the term 'masculinist' may be disconcerting, since some feminists regard mas-
culinist and male dominance as coterminous, and maintain that the men's movement upholds
and benefits patriarchy (e.g. Little 1994, 541). Roper and Tosh (1991, 9) put it bluntly:'When
the term "masculinity" is used, it functions as a simple shorthand for the personal aspects of
oppression by men'. I belabour this point because I want to suggest an alternative definition,
in order to contextualize the discussion for those feminists, archaeologists and anthropologists
who may associate the term 'masculinist' exclusively with a reactionary, gender-biased, andro-
centric position, rather than with a gender-based concept widely adopted by social scientists,
historians, literary critics, and psychologists to define or categorize a contemporary social
movement or academic position, that seeks to formulate the masculine subject (e.g. Gutmann
1997). It is exclusively in the latter sense that the term 'masculinist' is used in this study.
92 Equally important, I maintain that masculinity, or better, masculinities, like femininities,
must become a focus of gender-based social or cultural enquiry. This is important both
because such enquiries or studies have for so long presented men as gender-neutral (and thus
as universal, or 'human'), and because there is no point simply in replacing an exclusionary,
dominant, masculinist vision of the world with a feminist worldview that tends to be equal-
ly exclusionary, or contradictory (Jaggar 1983; Meskell 1995, 84; Moore 1997, 251). Any
totalizing account of reality has the potential to obliterate the significance of gender, or to
portray gender asymmetry as a consequence of other, somehow more 'essential' forces
(Fedigan 1986; Hesse 1994, 445;Thomas 1993, 14). Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

Male archaeologists have been reluctant to focus upon gender as a central concept in archae-
ological theory, even though 'masculinist' -writers - both male and female - in the social sci-
ences and literary theory have been dealing with gender concepts for the past several years.
Why have feminist scholars led the way in gendering archaeology, and how - if at all - can
'masculinist' studies contribute to its further development? To answer this question, the pre-
sent study proceeds first by presenting the background to the rise of feminist research and
scholarship in general. Secondly, masculinist reactions to feminism are described, and it is sug-
gested that masculinist approaches are for the most part derivative of feminist scholarship (cf.
Gutmann 1997, 400). Perhaps the most important contribution of masculinist scholarship has
been to insist upon the existence of divergent, multiple masculinities, and by extension fem-
ininities, rather than the usual, binary oppositions (male/female; culture/nature; public/pri-
vate) that once characterized gender-based research in the social sciences.This study is point-
edly theoretical in orientation, at least partly in response to Barbara Bender's recent observa-
tion (1997, 180):

I wonder whether [the lack of emphasis given to gender theory] ... represents a dis-
inclination to tangle with the often quite difficult abstractions of gender theory, or
conversely, a belief that 'We've done the theory, now it's time to think about the data
and method'. I would suggest that a lack of theoretical contextualization is premature.
Archaeologists have been remarkably slow to enter the debate on gender issue, we are
still building on very slender theoretical discussions, and deeply entrenched gender-
blind and gender-biased views of the past still dominate the literature.

By presenting and drawing upon a cross-section of new studies on masculinities, then, and
by combining those ideas with some basic contributions to the study of gender stemming
from feminist scholarship, I make the critical point that a gendered archaeology must involve
both women and men. The study of men and masculinities, of women and femininities,
involves consideration of social and gender issues that should not become the exclusive
domain of either women or men - be they archaeologists, ethnographers, or gendered actors.
The goal is an archaeology informed by feminism, one that can look critically at theories of
human action and allow archaeological data to challenge existing social theory.

The history of feminism and feminist ideas is long and complex (e.g.Tong 1989; Scott 1991;
Duby and Perrot 1992; Alcoff and Potter 1993) but does not need to be recapitulated here.
By the late 1960s, the Women's Liberation Movement (WLM) had made noticeable inroads
into the complacency of an utterly male-dominated western society. In America, at least, this
movement developed in certain radical centres such as New York City, Madison, Wisconsin,
or Berkeley, California. Before long, the corporate world and its Madison Avenue media-
hype had co-opted the women's movement for purely economic ends: 'you've come a long
way, baby' (advertisement for Virginia Slims) was a typical example. In social and political Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

terms, however, the WLM was far too hot to handle (Freeman 1973). It emphasized the cen-
trality of sexuality to social theory, to women's experience, and to their relationships with
other women and with men (Hanmer 1990, 23). Heterosexuality was revealed to be a social
institution with a hegemony so powerful that it was adhered to almost universally (Rich
1980). Along with the student and civil rights movements in the USA, and the New Left
movement in Britain, a different kind of women's scholarship emerged (e.g. Strathern 1972;
Weiner 1976). A torrent of polemic, political commentary, and soul-searching led to an
entirely new way of looking at the world, and especially at the ideology of male domination
- intellectually, economically, personally, politically. There followed a new wave of scholarship
and political action, the professional and the personal, that came to be known as 'feminist':
work by women on women, on female-male relations, and on the previously silenced
voices, presences and realities of women (e.g. Rosaldo and Lamphere 1974; Reiter 1975).The
feminist scholarship that grew out of the WLM gave collective meaning and solidarity to
individual women's experience by examining concepts such as domination, oppression or
exploitation, and by challenging an androcentric ideology (Hanmer 1990, 21-22).
Over the following quarter-century, the wildly variant 'masculinist' reaction to the WLM
and to feminism has taken two directions (gay scholarship involves at least one further direc-
tion, e.g. Forrest 1994):
(1) reactionary masculinities: the 'weekend warrior' syndrome, where 'wild men' engage with
their 'Zeus energy' and commune with nature, legend, myth, and other 'real men' (e.g. Bly
1990; Farrell 1993; Kimmel and Kaufmann 1994 - these writers often reveal a psychological
(2) motivated masculinities: 'feminist' writers on masculinity, who have taken on board the
radical implications and ideology associated with feminism (e.g. Stoltenberg 1989; Seidler
1989; 1997; Kaufmann 1994; Gutterman 1994, 229-231; Connell 1995 - these writers main-
ly reveal a political orientation).
Bly's Iron John (1990) is perhaps the most notorious of the biosocial writings that invoke
notions of'natural', timeless, and fundamental gender differences based upon biological sex
(Coltrane 1994, 46). In the same category must be included what Marilyn Lake (1993, 2)
recently defined as the Australian Culture Hero of the late 19th century: the 'Bushman' who
represented the promotion and idealization of a particular, patriarchal model. This separatist
model of masculinity, which eulogized the rough and ready Bushman as a drinking, smok-
ing, cursing, gambling, and gambolling 'rolling stone' was promulgated by the then-flamboy-
ant magazine The Bulletin, and by its misogynist editor J.F.Archibald. He and various other
94 Bohemian-style, urban-based (Sydney, Melbourne) men of letters valued masculine cama-
raderie - the 'mateship' that was projected not only onto the Bushman but onto all Australian
males - and indulged in a series of pastimes which, from a contemporary perspective, can
only be described as self-centered, self-indulgent and self-destructive. Women were portrayed
mainly as 'vain, snobbish, conservative, parson-worshipping killjoys ... unprepossessing spin-
sters ... scheming to trap men into wedlock' (Lake 1993, 3-4). In terms of constituting sub-
jectivity and cultural identity, the attitudes and values of 1890s Australia, like those of any
contemporary society, can be regarded as inconsistent, conflicting, contradictory or multiple.
Multiplicity is a theme to which I return repeatedly in this study. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

How then, if at all, has 'masculinist' theory or 'men's studies', particularly those aspects
informed by and based largely in feminist theory, contributed to the study of gender? How
may it contribute to an engendered archaeology?

Masculinist theory Sources and direction

Is it possible for men to study gender and masculinity using discourses common in feminist
theory without clinging to an androcentric perspective? Many feminists regard masculinist
approaches, even those avowedly inspired by feminism, with extreme scepticism, as part of the
problem rather than part of the solution, and as capable of co-opting all the advances
achieved by feminists over the past three decades (e.g. Canaan and Griffen 1990; Hanmer
1990; Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994b, 27-29; Coltrane 1994, 50-51). In terms of reactionary
masculinities, or the 'crisis in masculinity' associated with the 'weekend warriors' or
'Bushmen' mentioned above, these concerns clearly are well founded. In terms of'motivat-
ed masculinities' (Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994b, 29-34), such fears may be counter-pro-
ductive to a holistic, more inclusive study of gender. Indeed, current critiques of gender
essentialism (e.g. Alcoffand Potter 1993; Longino 1987; 1994) suggest that, if gender studies
are to remain relevant, they must be reassessed continually with respect to factors such as sex-
ual identity, age, class, ethnicity and religion (Wylie 1995), and masculinist studies cannot be
separated out from these factors
Many male writers who have attempted to redefine masculinity in popular, therapeutic
or academic terms are naive anthropologically and clueless archaeologically (Scott 1997, 10-
11); likewise they seem uninformed about much recent research on gender. Despite the
promise of a gendered perspective for cultural and intellectual history, social historians
deplore much recent research into all-male institutions and manliness, not least because
women are deliberately removed from the field of study, thus obscuring the links between
masculinity and social power (Roper and Tosh 1991, 3). Most masculinist studies, further-
more, appear to be theoretically challenged, even if they do show promise as meaningful
ethnographies (Conway-Long 1994; see the diverse case studies in Brod and Kaufmann 1994;
Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994c). The spate of recent publications on masculinity probably
results as much from men's needs to take stock of their masculinity, as it does from women's
determination to include the study of men and masculinities within a feminist critique
(Roper and Tosh 1991,19).
The most engaging of the motivated masculinist studies are those which make the polit- 95
ical - or cultural - intensely personal, where the activist side informs the academic. The dis-
advantage is that many of these studies seem to assume that by redefining the personal, polit-
ical change will automatically follow: this is seldom the case. Such works stem from the pens
of men who have become involved in pro-feminist activism, and in the struggle for women's
equality within a world still characterized by male supremacy: whoever digests these works,
women or men, will be affected profoundly and personally, and will realize how exception-
ally biased and androcentric most writing, about the past or the present, can be. For such
masculinist writers, radical feminism is not just consistent with but integral to all human- Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

rights struggles (Stoltenberg 1989, 3), to any gender-focused research worthy of the name.
The logic of feminism as a political position ('the personal is the political') has tradition-
ally regarded 'men' or 'male' as an oppositional category (Threadgold and Cranny-Francis
1990; Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994a, l).Yet recent theoretical challenges, not least from
postmodernists, have raised awkward questions about the status quo, both in the communi-
ty and in the academy. For example, however distinctive their styles may be (Moi 1987;Tong
1989, 223-231; Braidotti 1994), poststructuralist writers like Cixous and Irigaray, in attempt-
ing to legitimate the absolute 'otherness' of women and of female values, in one sense have
incarcerated their subjects in a 'privileged ghetto' that denies them any role in the making of
history, culture and meaning (Fullbrook 1990, 2-3; Connor 1992, 166; Conway-Long 1994,
Another, related feminist critique of postmodernism revolves around the concept of
agency: Mascia-Lees et al. (1989) and Hartsock (1990, 163) ask why the notion of subject-
hood has suddenly become problematic, just when long-silenced women have begun to
demand the right to be subjects rather than objects of history. Hodder (1991a, 9-11) asks the
same question of archaeologists. This controversial question of agency (Wylie 1992a, 59) must
be resolved if postmodernism is to support the politics of social change (Gutterman 1994,
223-224). Only at the risk of self-contradiction or incoherence (Taylor 1990, 35-37;
Engelstad 1991, 505; Benhabib 1994, 79) can feminist theory ally itself to the 'critical' (ver-
sus the 'moderate') version of postmodernism (Knapp 1996).
Postmodern feminism (e.g. Flax 1987, 1990;Weedon 1987; Lovibond 1989; Tong 1989,
217-233; Nicholson 1990), it would seem, has in some cases shifted the basic feminist con-
cern with gender to asking questions about the theoretical adequacy or political implications
of gender (Christian 1988). Gender is not a pure construct but one that must be examined
in a lived context of multiple influences, and of varying social forces (Rosaldo 1980, 401). As
gender 'inflects' one's experience of race, class and historical coherence (Grimshaw 1986, 84-
85), so too it deconstructs those experiences. N e w insights into social relations often follow
the deconstruction of natural, cultural or biological categories previously taken for granted.
N e w vantage points help to break down cultural biases or dominant ideologies: in this
respect, work on masculinities may help to build a bridge toward a fuller understanding of
gendered identities, and at the same time to subvert dominant chauvinisms dependent on
gender, class, race and other hierarchies (Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994a, 2).The postmod-
ernist focus on difference, instability, multiplicity and contingency at least offers the oppor-
tunity to interrogate and minimize or eliminate cultural 'scripts' of dominant masculinities
96 (Engelstad 1991, 505; Gutterman 1994, 224).
The ideologies that privilege and empower certain kinds of men and women have been
termed 'hegemonic masculinities' (Carrigan et al. 1985).The rhetoric that both enables and
sustains the concept of hegemonic masculinities necessitates an 'essentialist', male/female
binary system.These either/or binaries are an integral part ofWestern metaphysics, and have
a built-in, judgemental bias that privileges one side of the equation at the expense of the
other (Derrida 1974; Bruner 1994, 98; Conway-Long 1994, 77).Taylor (1990, 32) argues that
this tendency is an artefact of 'patriarchal social structure'; if so, it is a tendency that also char-
acterized earlier feminist research (Rosaldo 1980, 396-401; Dobres 1988, 33-36). Current Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

postmodernist theory largely ignores biological (dualistic) typologies in favour of socially-
derived structures, and views gender as a spectrum rather than a dichotomy. In this respect,
postmodernism has largely replaced structuralist or post-structuralist theory which earlier
informed gender studies. Is it any coincidence that the study of masculinities, the evolution
of feminist studies, and the elaboration of postmodernist theories of gender all developed in
tandem (Lynn Meskell, personal observation)? Postmodernist studies, however, have yet to
reconcile satisfactorily the sexual (binary) typology of human beings with the culturally-fash-
ioned spectrum of gender (Lin Foxhall, personal communication; see also Di Leonardo
1991). However central a biological typology may be to human cultures, gender clearly does
not follow on directly from sex. Because there are so many interrelationships in the study of
gender that we do not understand, it is essential to incorporate gender as a basic social con-
struct in analytical and interpretive frameworks.
Essentialist approaches to gender glorify culturally-specific myths and practices as uni-
versal biological or even psychological truths; in so doing, they ignore the socio-structural
conditions that created these myths and practices (Wylie 1991a; Coltrane 1994, 45-46;
Worthman 1995, 608-610). Binary systems can be problematic for comparative studies of
gender, and in any case cannot account for the variant ways that people are gendered, at dif-
ferent times, in different places. What it means to be a woman or a man, in fact, changes in
relation to the 'other' over time (Foxhall 1994,136). Since both the sexed body and the gen-
dered person are culturally constructed, binary and biological oppositions or orientations
would seem to have little explanatory value (Knapp and Meskell 1997; Lesick 1997) .Yet even
a strong critic like Nicholson (1984, 223) notes that where dualisms are interpreted in their
historical context, they may still serve as useful tools of feminist analysis (similarly Little 1994,
541).Through detailed ethnographic exploration, it is possible to consider how familiar bina-
ry oppositions - man/woman, masculinity/femininity, culture/nature, reason/emotion - are
underwritten by a much more complex social reality, based on the relationship between gen-
der and power. Power relations form a basic aspect of all social transactions (Foucault 1980),
and an individual's perception of the relationship between gender and power is historically
contextualized and socially constructed (Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994a, 3; Lorber 1994,
13-36). As Foxhall (1994, 145) notes with reference to classical Greece,'the complexities of
gender were the template for expressions of power'.
The notion of power in the form of a fixed, pure, heterosexual masculinity, to which
oppressed men, women and children are inescapably subordinated, is a notion in crisis,
increasingly less hegemonic than it has ever been before (Segal 1990,100; Connell 1995, 76-
81; Gutmann 1997, 397-400). What is necessary is an understanding of'mutations' in male 97
dominance through time, and how such changes relate to other structures of social power,
like class, race or nation (Roper and Tosh 1991, 7). O n the political level, if it is possible to
situate and define an array of competing masculine identities in any given context, it should
also be possible to begin to break down those privileging, hegemonic masculinities. Over the
past two decades, there has also occurred a shift from a singular notion of feminism, or fem-
ininity, to postmodern notions of multiple, situated feminisms, or femininities (de Lauretis
1986, 1990; Sanday and Goodenough 1990; Grosz 1994). Gendered identities may thus be
seen as multiple, contested and even contradictory (Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994b, 40). We Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

need to examine how masculinities and femininities are created through social interaction,
and to consider the relations amongst multiple, engendered identities and power. As Wylie
(1992a) maintains, power must be understood as a process, that is, as a dynamic relationship
not just between individuals but within institutional structures or systems. If her analysis of
power appears to be negative in certain respects, it is at the same time insightful: the intimate
association of knowledge with power, of truth with politics, stems directly from the mod-
ernist) nation-state, which empowers archaeology as a discipline (Fotiadis 1994, 552).

Gendering society

Gender, class, age, religion and ethnicity are some of the categories through which people, as
individuals or as members of institutions, negotiate power positions. Yet such categories may
be problematic inasmuch as they are defined by essential (usually binary) attributes, and
because the creation of categories is itself an act of power (Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994b,
40). Assertions about gender differences are bound inexorably to specific political positions,
but gender does not conform to any fixed identity or agency from which certain acts
inevitably follow (Lorber 1994, 80-96). Instead, gender identity is tenuously constituted in
time and space (Butler 1990, 140), and gender differences are constructed through discours-
es pertaining to agency, identity and causation (Strathern 1988, 5). Gender, in many respects,
is performance, a negotiation with social reality (Morris 1995). Most feminists would agree
that gender is socially constructed and thus subject to change; indeed some believe that gen-
der - if ever women and men are interchangeable socially - should ultimately be eliminated
as an organizing principle in post-industrial society (Lorber 1986, 568; Coltrane 1994, 43;
Longino 1994; Wylie 1995). Until that time, however, and in the present case especially
because male scholars have tended to ignore gender as a central concern of social organiza-
tion, I would argue that it is justifiable to focus explicitly on masculinities as well as to con-
tinue work on femininities. Studying masculinities is not just concerned with men, or with
relations between the sexes, but rather with examining how social agents are differently con-
structed in different sociocultural milieux (e.g. Loizos 1994; Connell 1995).
Human beings have permeable boundaries, and move constantly between the diverse
social aspects of their lives. Gender is conceptualized in part by such movements, and by the
pluralistic elements on which these movements depend (Strathern 1988). This points to a
radical notion about 'personhood', and makes it possible to think about difference in a way
that does not immediately break down into binary opposites. The category of'woman', or
'feminist', is no more monolithic than that of'man', or 'masculinist'. Lindisfarne (1994, 95)
argues that emphasizing the separateness of men and women simply serves to sustain both
the rhetoric and the practice of male domination.
Like femininity, masculinity is a relational construct that is incomprehensible if studied
apart from the totality of gender relations; it is also shaped in direct relation to men's social
power (Roper and Tosh 1991, 2). Understanding gender in relational terms is important
because hegemonic masculinities function chiefly by asserting their power over some 'other'
group or individual. By the same token, masculinity should not be viewed in isolation from, Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

or as the simple opposite of, these subordinate identities, since they may well enhance their
own power by taking on the guise of the 'other' (Roper and Tosh 1991,13-14; Smith 1995).
Foucault's work generally, including that on sexuality (1976), engaged the personal with
the political by demonstrating how institutions unavoidably and irreducibly exploit power
relations. Connell (1987, 1994, 1995, 35-39) argues that masculinity is a social construction
based on a gender order that defines masculinity in opposition to femininity, and thus sus-
tains a power relation between women and men as groups (Kandiyoti 1994, 198). Here,
Connell simply reflects many contemporary feminist analyses on the institutions of authori-
ty, control and coercion - the family, the workplace (indeed any public place), the state - that
have their own gender regimes for maintaining male dominance (Connell 1987, 119-141).
Power relations amongst men also involve struggles to define hegemonic masculinities, and
therefore serve to construct different masculinities. In this respect, these masculinities inter-
weave men's social power with a range of both dominant and subordinate cultural represen-
tations. It is apparent that no single factor constitutes masculinity: not only is it divergent and
often competing, but above all continuously changing. Even Lacan's phallocentric, linguistic
determinism demonstrated thac masculinity, like femininity, cannot be reduced to a single
essence or a set of attributes (Segal 1990, 91-92).
Analysing the nature of difference has always been central to anthropology (Moore 1994),
and such analyses have now assumed a critical importance in theoretical approaches to the
study of gender (Conway-Long 1994, 61;Wbrthman 1995). One possible way to validate
both difference and similarity, and at the same time to highlight both individual human
agency and structural patterns, would be to delineate the conditions, settings and motivations
through which gender becomes salient in everyday life (Coltrane 1994, 57; Lorber 1994,
172-193). The complexities of gender may be seen in the structuring of symbols, in the
workings of the political economy, and in the individual agent. There is an ongoing, active
process in which gender is created and re-created, in response to specific tasks or roles, and
to the changing relations of gender power. Gender is a social system that constantly recon-
structs the experience and opportunity of both women and men. Gender, moreover, is never
static, but interactive with the structures and agents that surround it (Kaufinann 1994, 147)
and act it out. The systematic study of such 'gender strategies' (Hochschild 1989) should help
us to understand their origin and construction, and the way that they are formed and used
within and across various cultural, spatial, economic and institutional contexts.

Gendering archaeology 99

Gender studies and the use of feminist theory in archaeology have assumed a high profile,
not least because of several recently published conference proceedings and specialist studies
(see Bacus et al. 1993 for publications up to 1992; du Cros and Smith 1993; Claassen 1992,
1994; Archer et al. 1994; Gilchrist 1994; Nelson et al. 1995; Balme and Beck 1995; Wright
1996; Nelson 1997; Moore and Scott 1997; Claassen and Joyce 1997; Conkey and Gero
1997). Building upon these works, my intention here is simply to outline what I regard as
the most important as well as the most problematic aspects of a gendered archaeology. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

The feminist assault on academic research traditions has proceeded in stages, from (1) expos-
ing androcentrism, to (2) 'remedial' research - most often from androcentric perspectives - in
'finding women', and finally to (3) reconceptualization, or theoretical enquiry into gender
dynamics and social constructs (Conkey and Spector 1984, 17-18; Wylie 1991b, 31-32;
Brown 1993, 257-258). Critical enquiry, internal and external, continues as gender bias con-
tinues to surface at increasingly fundamental levels, particularly in scientific disciplines (Wylie
Archaeologists, always at some distance from the vanguard in gender studies, attempted
to engage with gender in at least two distinctive ways (Conkey andTringham 1995):
(1) the 'add gender and stir' approach (Conkey with Williams 1991, 124), in which gen-
der represents just another variable, like status or class. Such an approach has little, if any, value
for the development of social theory in archaeology, because gender issues are simply tacked
onto existing, mainly androcentric, paradigms.
(2) the 'gender attribution' approach, which, in a sense, seeks to reify gender by linking
specific artifacts or categories of material with women (e.g. pottery manufacture, bread-mak-
ing) or men (copper production; deposition of weapons). Such attempts to render gender vis-
ible are often regarded with skepticism by mainstream ('malestream') archaeologists. This
approach is essentially static, functional and unable to engage any of the rich theoretical
resources on gender - as agency, as dynamic, as historically contingent (Conkey and Tringham
1995; Dobres 1995a).
Roberts (1993,18-19) categorized both approaches as 'the archaeology of gender' to dis-
tinguish them from what she termed 'gendered archaeology'. I do not necessarily agree with
this distinction but closely support her overall perspective (likewise Gero and Conkey 1997,
423). In Roberts' approach to the study of gender, an archaeology informed by feminist the-
ory takes gender as the critical variable and challenges existing disciplinary paradigms and
structures of knowledge (also Conkey and Gero 1991, 15-23; 1997, 425-431), particularly
what we term prehistory, as truly representative. Equally important, the gendering of archae-
ology is based on a rejection of the binary oppositions and biological determinism implicit
both in early feminist research and in structuralist or post-structuralist approaches in archae-
ology (Conkey and Gero 1991, 8; Gilchrist 1991, 488; Engelstad 1991, 512; Knapp and
Meskell 1997). A gendered archaeology has turned on its head the common notion that the
sexual division of labour reflects biological differences; in fact contextual studies conducted
within a feminist framework have demonstrated that it is the division of labour which cre-
ates gender differences (Ortner 1978, 27; 0vrevik 1991, 739).
100 The archaeology of man and mankind made gender distinctions invisible, and excluded at
least half the people who lived in the past (Conkey and Spector 1984, 2). A gendered archae-
ology is essential because gender is one of the key organising principle of all human life,
through time and throughout space, and accordingly ought to be recognizable in the mate-
rial world created by past human groups (Roberts 1993, 18; Beck and Balme 1994, 39-40).
There are, nonetheless, several very real problems, even terminological discrepancies, in any
attempt to get at the resolutely socio-cultural dimensions of the past. For example, if we seek
to make gender a central concern of archaeology, how could we ever determine, in any given
culture, especially prehistoric cultures, whether a simple, binary, biological division was at Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

work? What constitutes 'female gender' as opposed to 'male gender' and how may these be
defined in material terms? How many genders are there (Bailey 1994,194-195)? How many
masculinities? Femininities? Is there a continuum, or spectrum, of genders, or of sexes (Salleh
1984, 32-33)? How do eunuchs or 'two-spirits' (Jacobs 1994) fit into such schema?
Despite a decade's efforts in attempting to isolate, in a non-androcentric manner, gender-
specific activities in the archaeological record ('gender attribution'), this aim still founders on
a methodological issue related to visibility (Conkey and Spector 1984, 6; Claassen 1992, 6).
Various papers in several conference proceedings (e.g. Gero and Conkey 1991;Walde and
Willows 1991; du Cros and Smith 1993; Balme and Beck 1995; Moore and Scott 1997)
struggle to identify the material parameters of female or male activity patterns, all the while
being wary of developing inappropriate models for studying the past. Although Conkey and
Gero (1991, 11) rightly emphasize that a gendered archaeology is not dependent on some
methodological breakthrough that will make women or men visible in the archaeological
record, Barrett's (1988, 12) observations about 'gender attribution' still give room for pause:
if we regard the material data as a record, how does the evidence record different kinds of
gender-based activity? Alternatively, if we regard the material record as text, and agree that
certain codes may signify gender in particular sociocultural contexts, how exactly are such
texts to be read? Even when using cross-cultural data derived from an ethnoarchaeological
or ethnohistonc approach (e.g. Spector 1993), where certain materials, tools or trinkets may
be hnked to gender-specific activities, how may one confidently associate present or recent
cultural expressions of gender with those of the distant or remote past? When we do succeed
in determining gender-based material correlates of human labour, it will still be critical to
relate gender-specific activities - like any other social or behavioural aspects that permeate
the material record - to broader understandings of social being (Frankel 1993).
Given these concerns over the study of gender in archaeology, it is instructive to exam-
ine more closely the role of feminist theory in gender studies and in anthropology (the lit-
erature is vast, but note, for example, Rosaldo and Lamphere 1974; Rosaldo 1980; Harding
1987,1990; Moore 1988,1995; di Leonardo 1991;Wylie 1992b; Conkey andTringham 1995;
Conkey and Gero 1997). The focus of feminist anthropology today is upon the study of gen-
der, particularly the problems associated with analysing gender differences in relation to class,
race, age, culture, ethnicity, identity and the past. Masculinist studies frequently examine
themselves reflexively by dissecting the relationship between gender and power (e.g. Connell
1987, 1995; Seidler 1990; Kaufinann 1994; Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994c; but cf. Wylie
1992a), or by 'embodying' masculinities (e.g. Seidler 1997; cf. Grosz 1994). As aspects of gen-
der, masculinities and femininiries represent different human possibilities that have emerged 101
socially and historically (Conkey and Gero 1991, 8). Neither masculinity nor femininity can
be understood without reference to wider concepts of sex and gender. Gender cannot be
understood simply in terms of female or male activities (or their residues), as archaeologists
frequently seek to do. Gender, furthermore, is not based solely in material or economic con-
ditions, but also in the structuring of ideology (Dommasnes 1990, 29). As a constituting
element of all social relations, gender should be constructed as a relationship, and gender
categories may be reproduced as a relationship in which women or men control specific
cultural-resource sets (Rosaldo 1980). Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

The importance to archaeology, then, would be to realize that gender is based on culturally
perceived and inscribed similarities and differences between and amongst females and males
(Conkey and Gero 1991, 8; Gilchrist 1991, 497). If gender is socially and culturally con-
structed, ideologically situated, and historically contingent, then gender relations and gender
conflict are historical forces, and gender discourse will be structured by control over specif-
ic human and material resources (Barrett 1988, 13; Moore 1988). To consider how gender
relations were structured, negotiated and enacted in specific sociocultural contexts, or with
respect to certain ideological and social processes, it is important to engage social theory (e.g.
Shennan 1986;Wylie 1991b; 1992a; Conkey with Williams 1991, 124-125; Gilchrist 1991,
498). Although Roberts (1993, 16-18) is concerned that archaeologists have not used social
theory dynamically, specifically to develop their own interpretive frameworks, she accepts
that our ability to 'see' gender in the material record is closely bound up with the explana-
tory primacy of social theory. Conkey and Gero's (1997, 429-430) latest call for a feminist
practice in archaeology notes three areas of concern that might help to transform our enter-
prise: (1) increasing attention to (modern) human agents in the creation of knowledge; (2)
organizing field projects in less hierarchical fashion, whilst acknowledging multiple judge-
ments, strategies and evaluations of field data; and (3) admitting and encouraging ambiguity
of knowledge, not least through new narrative and historical frameworks of interpretation.
Feminist theory, and its 'masculinist' derivative, are critical for the study of gender in
archaeology, not least because they encourage a pluralistic approach and multiple interpreta-
tions whilst (usually) rejecting'runaway relativisms' (Conkey and Tringham 1995). A feminist
perspective is primed to treat ambiguity and to tolerate diversity in posing questions and pro-
viding alternative answers to archaeological problems (Dobres 1995b; Conkey and Gero
1997, 429-430). Ambiguity of meaning is inherent in the material record, and alternative
interpretations must be acknowledged, if not encouraged. The recognition of difference and
ambiguity also encourages discourse and dialogue: between data and theory, past and present,
writer and reader, text and context. Feminist theory may also offer critical insight into the
way gender affects and is affected by social being and social practice, which in term may help
archaeologists to engage with theory rather than simply to apply borrowed theory. Conkey
and Tringham (1995) make the important point that feminist theory would regard the past
as relevant not because it may help to explain the present, but because it challenges the pre-
sent, especially 'scientistic' reconstructions of the past that presume truth or exclusivity of
knowledge (see also Wylie 1997; Conkey and Gero 1997, 426-428).

Discussion and c o n c l u s i o n

The aim, ultimately, should be an archaeology which is informed by feminism, as one

among many theoretical alternatives, which then reflects back on feminist [or social]
theory; an archaeology which takes into account, and can look critically at, theories
of human action and which allows archaeological data to challenge existing theories
of society, not merely reproduce them. (Roberts 1993, 20) Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

Archaeologists today regularly consider the social fabric, economic base, or political ideolo-
gy of the cultures they study; less often do they attempt to examine the collective or indi-
vidual mindset that created, used and deposited the available material record. Social theory,
sensu lato, underlies many of the concepts that drive contemporary archaeological theory; in
a very real sense social theory defines the actual praxis of most postprocessual or 'interpreta-
tive' archaeologies (Hodder et al. 1995). In reaction to the anti-'social', ahistorical factions
within processual archaeology, Bradley (1984, 3-4) long ago pointed out that by avoiding
closer consideration of the social meaning inherent in material data, archaeologists were fol-
lowing a 'narrow personal mythology'.The point is not to replace environmental or biolog-
ical determinism with a social strain of the same virility, but rather to consider the material
residues of the past in their total social context, and to reintroduce people, their beliefs, their
gender, their 'lifeways', and their material products into a coherent interpretive framework.
In other words, archaeologists need to conceptualize gender as a structuring process, where-
in material culture patterns help to create notions of identity (Lesick 1997, 39).
Gilchrist (1997, 55-56) is certainly correct to point out that the interconnected issue of
sex, gender and the body present the greatest challenge to a gendered archaeology. Indeed,
one could go further and argue that we need to get beyond the 'screen' of gender to con-
sider how bodies, selves and identities were created in the past (Meskell 1996; Hodder 1997).
No longer can we assume that gender is best defined by the physical characteristics of bio-
logical sex; rather we have to take into account such factors as social status, ritual roles,
whether gender was ascribed or achieved, the individual's place within her/his life cycle, the
likelihood of multiple - not dual - genders (for a detailed archaeological case study, see Knapp
and Meskell 1997). Essentialist categories of male and female have long outlived their poten-
tial to contribute to a dynamic and evolving study of gender.
Human actions as revealed in the material record often involve huge dimensions of space,
time and social reality, whilst long-term frames of reference both affect and reflect the
unfolding of human action on shorter time scales (Gosden 1994, 35). But the seeming
intractability of these frames of reference (or'fields of discourse' - Barrett 1988, 11-12) does
not grant us license to ignore their implications. Mainstream archaeologists overall have
regarded gender as one of the more intractable fields of discourse in their domain. Hodder
(1991a, 10) points out that post-processualists like Shanks andTilley have failed to develop a
dialogue with feminist archaeology, despite the close link between the emergence of post-
processual archaeology and the growth of feminism and a feminist archaeology. It is not par-
ticularly reassuring to readTillev (1993, 22):
I regret that there are no female authors represented in this volume. A number were
asked to contribute but declined or could not find the time. It is quite disgraceful that
there is only one feminist book in existence in archaeology (Gero and Conkey 1991).
But feminism is much more than a matter of women writing about the past or iden-
tifying women in it, but [sic] must involve a discussion and evaluation of the entire
notion of gender. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

Indeed, the study of gender and the issues raised by feminist theory present real challenges to
archaeology. And yet these are challenges archaeologists must confront if we wish to produce
richer understandings of the prehistoric and historic past, or to engage gender as a dynamic,
historical process. Feminist theory can provide a critique to help archaeologists manoeuvre
between the Scylla of processualism's narrow objectivism and the Charybdis of post-proces-
sualism's extreme relativisms, to realize a more encompassing archaeology that acknowledges
contexts, contingencies and ambiguities (Little 1994, 539, 543). Archaeology, moreover, is a
discipline fundamentally based in categories and typologies: because gender is a central organ-
ising principle in society, it must lie close to the heart of the categories and typologies we con-
struct for analytical purposes, and thus should be central to the entire discipline. Engaging
gender not only makes for a more holistic archaeology, it also helps archaeologists to illustrate
the social construction of particular human roles and relationships, and to foreground the
individual as an active social agent (similarly, Conkey and Gero 1991, 12-14).
Thus far, it would seem, the study of the past has involved largely an appraisal of patri-
archy (Kokkinidou and Nikolaidou 1993, 163). The significance of feminism and gender in
archaeology will be acknowledged only when androcentric attitudes and approaches are
blunted at the source, and when bridges are built to integrate gender fully within the wider
discipline (Dommasnes 1990, 28-29; Gilchrist 1991, 500), indeed to move beyond gender as
a primary axis of enquiry if or when its essentialism becomes counterproductive (Wylie
1995). Even to discuss an 'engendered' archaeology or to critique 'malestream' practice
requires an author to pass what Fotiadis (1994, 546) calls an 'epistemological tribunal' to
ensure that the work represents 'legitimate disciplinary pursuits'. As an inevitable backlash
against theoretical archaeology grows in the wake of the processual/postprocessual debate
(note especially Hodder 1991a, 10), an archaeology informed by feminist theory may find an
archaeological establishment - especially those who equate post-processual or postmodernist
ontologies with feminist theory - much less receptive to their •work and ideas (Williams
However optimistic one may be about establishing and practising a gendered archaeolo-
gy, it is unrealistic, and likely even detrimental to argue that a total commitment to a femi-
nist archaeology must result in a (another?) new archaeology, where the theoretical framework
and entire practice of the discipline must be radically altered or transformed (Conkey and
Tringham 1995; see also Dommasnes 1990, 28). Conkey and Gero (1997, 430-431) now
seem to call for a more radical transformation in archaeological practice. In terms of social
change, and the need to eradicate an androcentric paradigm, this presents a real dilemma. For
104 whilst such a transformation must remain the goal of feminists within every discipline, and
even though gender cannot be separated from other archaeological concerns and marginal-
ized as a 'speciality' within the discipline (Conkey and Gero 1991, 17), it will do little good
simply to replace an androcentric archaeology with a gynecentric one. Scott (1997, 11, orig-
inal emphasis) cautions that 'An entire current generation of "third wave" feminists seem
devoid of sound historical and archaeological information to support and refine their social
studies'. Indeed, some feminist writers would now argue that it is counterproductive to
search for a 'feminist science' (Longino 1987); it might be more productive to think through
what it means to 'do science as a feminist', to use conceptual tools already available rather Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

than staking the prospects for productive gender research on inventing another new form of
archaeology (personal communication, Alison Wylie).

Given that women have already been marginalized in their'preferred' subject matters
within archaeology ..., what is the likely future of a feminist archaeology or the
archaeology of gender if it is primarily taken up by w o m e n archaeologists (as certainly
appears to be the case thus far)? (Conkey with Williams 1991, 126)

...the real challenge is to move beyond the feminist perspectives which created the
conditions for the critique of androcentrism, and which highlighted the politically all-
pervasive nature of genders, towards writing truly 'engendered' histories; histories
which analyse the material conditions within which gender relationships between
women and men were negotiated. (Boyd 1997, 26)

There is, finally, some tension between those w h o pursue gender in archaeology as an end it
itself, and those w h o engage gender as an aspect of (feminist) theory (Conkey 1991). As
argued in this study, gender also forms an important theoretical aspect of the still limited
range of work by 'masculimst' writers, which must also be taken on board by archaeologists
in order to engage the study of multiple, engendered pasts (similarly Dommasnes 1990, 2 9 -
30). Boyd (1997, 29) rightly maintains that whilst it is essential to maintain solidarity on fem-
inist and gender issues, at the same time we need a solidarity that is inclusive rather than
exclusive. Although gender has only very slowly come into male focus as a key concept in
archaeological theory (e.g. Handsman 1991; H o d d e r 1991b; Shennan 1993, 144-154; Spriggs
1993; Bailey 1994; R o b b 1994; Preucel 1995, 155-163; Boyd 1997), many of these authors
are still in the 'remedial' stage (Wylie 1991b, 31) of development, lacking even a basic orien-
tation in feminist, much less masculinist, theory (Engelstad 1991, 509-511).
Gender will not be incorporated easily or directly into disciplinary frameworks that have
traditionally ignored its existence (Roberts 1993, 16). Certainly it is important to reject sci-
entific discourses that are dominant, closed and categorical, be they masculinist or feminist.
The critical point I must reiterate is that a gendered archaeology has to involve both w o m e n
and men, not in order to neutralize gender, but to make it a more dynamic, multifaceted con-
cept in archaeological interpretation (i.e. of social theory in archaeology), one through which
archaeologists - including mainstream archaeologists - may produce less biased accounts of
the past. If there is to be any seriously-considered debate on gender in archaeology, it must
engage both feminist and masculinist perspectives, consider h o w to reconceptualize the cat- 105
egories within which we construct the past, and define alternative means of archaeological


Many of the ideas presented in this paper on mas- gender tor the field of archaeology, were formulated
culinist and feminist theory, and the importance of originally from lengthy discussions with Lynn Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

Meskell (New College, Oxford University): I am bibliography on new masculinist studies. My thanks
most grateful for her enthusiasm, ideas and input. I again to Louise Zarmati and Lynn Meskell for
also want to thank Wendy Ashmore, Anne Cranny- needling me into taking part in the Third Australian
Francis, Lin Foxhall, Jane Lydon, Ariel Salleh, Women in Archaeology Conference (3-5 February
Jennifer Webb, and Louise Zarmati for comments 1995, University of Sydney), where a shorter ver-
on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Special thanks sion of this paper was first presented: archaeology
to Alison Wylie, who has read and commented on will never be the same for me again. All of these
several earlier drafts, and continually provided feed- people are at least partially responsible for the final
back and further references. Two referees for product. Research for this study was carried out
Archaeological Dialogues offered comments that while I held an Australian Research Fellowship from
helped to refine some of the main points raised in the Australian Research Council (Commonwealth
this study. Thanks are due to Meg Conkey and Ruth Government of Australia) in the School of History,
Tringham for providing a copy of a then unpub- Philosophy and Politics, Macquane University,
lished manuscript (Conkey and Tringham 1995), Sydney - I am most grateful for that support. The
and to Matthew Gutmann (Anthropology, Brown final version was prepared in the Department of
University —then at UC Berkeley) for an invaluable Archaeology, University of Glasgow.

106 Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:



Douglass W. Bailey

Orville's foot sank in the soft ground and once he was out of the brush and onto the tarmac,
he spent a minute scrapping the sole clean. There was a red pick-up pulled up in front of the
estate gates, right under the flag-pole. It was a big American pick-up, a Chevy with fat wheel §•
arches in the back and wide double-sized knobbly tires. The kind of thing which had been f"
designed for off-roading but, in reality, which never ventured far from the p u b car-park. ^
A man was unloading bright yellow and red plastic boxes from the bed of the pick-up. g
He wore clean black jeans tucked inside expensive-looking new desert boots. His tan jacket "
almost hid a red flannel shirt. The jacket itself was almost hidden under a dense covering of g
cloth patches sewn up and down each arm and covering most of the front; the rear had one
huge yellow and red round design which stretched from the tops of his shoulder-blades to
the bottom of his ribs.
Orville hadn't seen this guy before.'Morning. Nice truck'.
'Morning. Thanks, it's a 1998 Chevy Flat-bed, five-speed, Fuely heads and a 563 cubic-
inch engine. O n e of the finest pieces of Detroit muscle produced since the 70s.'
U h - h u h . W h o the hell was this? Orville could see that the rear window of the pick-up's
cab was plastered with stickers. A lot of them had come from holidays (there was one from
the Grand Canyon, another from the Alamo) but he couldn't identify some of the larger
ones. The biggest sticker (with a yellow and red round design identical to the one on the
man's jacket) was placed smack in the middle of the rear window. H e imagined it couldn't
have made it very easy to see out of the rear-view mirror.
'You mind giving me a hand with this?'
Orville looked from the stickers to the flag-pole where the man was standing unwind-
ing the ropes from a cleat.
Curiosity drew Orville over to the pole and he took the folded flag when the man
offered it.
'It's brand new, this flag', he said and asked Orville, 'you're here for the meeting, aren't 107
'No, I live here actually. Otherside of the estate grounds. I was just out for walk down to
the stream. Go each morning to see how the fish are behaving.You can tell a lot about catch-
ing fish by just sitting watching them. The way they jump, where they hide. I'm Orville,
Orville Parker', and he reached out his hand.
'Well great to meet you'. Orville's hand disappeared inside a huge but soft grip. 'Neil
Garland. That's Garland, G-A-R-L-A-N-D. And it looks like the fish isn't all you were inter-
ested in'. Garland was eyeing the rabbits that bulged out of Orville's poachers-pocket. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

'Oh, I do a bit of snaring now and then. Land-owner doesn't mind so long as I don't take
too many too often.'
'Well, Orville I suggest you hang around a bit. In about an hour more than 100 experts
on hunting all types of fowl and game will descend on this car-park. Stick around'. Garland
turned to the flag-pole. 'If I don't get this flag up soon, they'll all sail right on past. Give me
that edge with the grommets'.
Once Garland had the flag snapped onto the spring-clips (and this took some doing as
the clips were barely functional, one rusted open, the other missing its spring) he started to
hoist it up the pole.
Orville wondered what had happened to the blue flag that used to hang here. Had it been
there yesterday morning? He couldn't be sure. It definitely had been there last week. 'Was
there a blue flag on this pole when you got here this morning', Orville asked.
'Big blue and white one? A bit wind-whipped along the edges? Yup. Took it down. Not
all that bad looking but don't think it was made to last. Wasn't too keen on the colours either.
Don't you worry though, it didn't go to waste. I'm using the grommets from the old flag in
this new one.'
Before Neil could get the new flag two feet up the pole, the flag jolted to a stop, the cord
jammed in one of the pulleys.
'That's what happens when you paint a flag-pole without bothering to take the cord off.
End up with paint all over the cord. Shouldn't paint the pole without taking the cord off.
Never works.'
Orville had the annoying that Neil was the kind of guy who knew everything about
everything and liked to tell everyone about it as often as possible. The flag itself looked brand
new. The fabric was a smooth, shiny synthetic. Nylon or some such. He could just about
make out the insignia on the flag. R e d symbols stitched onto a yellow background. He
couldn't quite see all of the flag and from what he could see he hadn't the slightest clue what
the images were. As Neil yanked the flag up the pole, the breeze lifted the fabric and Orville
saw that the flag had the same image which he had seen on the back window of the pickup
and on the huge patch on the back of Garland's jacket.
'What's this flag stand for? I don't think I've seen one like it before. And what about this
meeting you mentioned? I hope they're not all going to be driving pick-ups like yours. I
know a lot of people around here who aren't going to be too happy about 100 people invad-
ing their space with roaring engines and squealing tyres.'
'Oh, the flag. Quite a beauty isn't it? Had it made special. That's polythermoordinate
108 nylon, made to order in Germany. Should last 100 years and then some. Specifically designed
the flag myself (though I borrowed a lot of ideas from flags I'd seen here and there). None
other completely hke it in the world. Used the yellow and the red because it's a proven fact
that they're the most visible colours to the human eye. When you see this flag, and you're
gonna see a lot more of it in the future, that I guarantee you, when you see this flag you are
going to know what you are looking at'.
Actually, Orville had no idea what he was looking at. He had seen lots of flags which
looked a bit like this one (some with these colours and some with symbols almost like these)
but none with exactly this combination. He tried his question again. 'But what does it stand
for? W h o does it represent?' Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

'That's why we're meeting here, Orville my friend, to spread the word, the fly the flag, to
move forward in new and exciting ways, to do what we all have been doing but to do it in
far superior ways.'
'But, to do what?'
'Exactly what you were doing to those pheasants this morning.'
'Snaring birds, this flag represents laying snares for forest birds?'
'It's bigger than that Orville. much bigger. It's not about birds or about snares. It's about
guns. It's about hunting animals to the death with guns. Big guns, little guns, shot-guns, auto-
matic weapons, Uzzis, Kalashnikovs, you name it. Guns are going to change the way we think
about and go about hunting down and killing animals. Gonna change the whole way we
think about all animals, not just birds.'
'But how does the flag represent that?' Orville couldn't see any resemblance between the
red images on the flag and guns of any type.
'It's not about representation, Orville, you're missing the point. It's about appearance and
waving the flag. As bright a flag as we could make. It's about making a show, stating our aims
clearly and loudly'
Orville felt himself getting sucked into an argument with Garland and his (admittedly
bright and, well, yes, impressive) flag. Orville had been snaring birds since he was a boy. It
made sense, it was a natural way of hunting. It required sense and knowledge and skill and
patience; it required all of those things which defined hunting. It required an intimate knowl-
edge of your prey and of your prey's environment. H e knew people, not a lot he had to
admit, but he knew people who hunted with guns, indeed he had discussed doing it with
friends, but there never seemed to be much sense to it. Orville turned back to Garland. 'And
what exactly are these aims of yours then'.
Neil handed Orville a pamphlet.'You read this and you'll see what we're on about'. And
taking a deep breath, Neil launched into a list of well oiled aims and objectives. 'The main
aim is to introduce guns into the hunting and killing of animals. Second aim is to outline
some of the most important and problematic aspects of hunting and killing animals in the
wild. Third aim is to argue that hunting must employ both shooting and methods like snar-
ing and trapping.'
'So it's not exclusive then. There is room for different ways of doing hunting, is there?'
'Of course. Because, Orville my friend, the fourth aim is to see how well shooting can
contribute to further developments in hunting down and killing animals. We are arguing that
it is justifiable to focus explicitly on guns as well as to continue work on trapping and snar-
ing. In fact we are arguing that hunting must involve both shooting and trapping if it is to 109
make killing animals a more dynamic and multi-faceted way of hunting.'
'So why the new flag?'
'To explicitly state our aims, Orville. To provide a focusing point for all of us w h o feel
this way. To lay down our agenda loud and clear.'
'But stating aims, waving a flag (attractive as it is) doesn't really amount to much. I don't
mean to be rude, but it really doesn't, does it. A flag never brought down a bird or trapped a
rabbit or brought a large-mouthed lake trout out of the water.'
'You're missing the point, Orville. It's not guns against the rest of the hunting tradition.
It's guns together with all of the other ways and knowledges of hunting.' Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

'So what's the big deal? Why theflag?Why not just carry on? In fact, now that I think
of it, most of what you are claiming has been claimed by other elements in the hunting fra-
'Look, we're here to do two important things. First, we re here to find a more efficient
way of hunting animals. Second we're here to show how, to show how, we're here...' Neil
stuttered, hesitated for a few seconds before continuing. 'Yes, okay, so it has developed out of
more traditional ways of hunting like snaring and trapping, but we're here today', said Neil
back in his stride, 'to develop an entirely new relationship between people and animals.
Finally, and I know you are going to like this Orville, finally we are here today to suppress
chauvinistic ideas about the relationships between animals and people which are dependent
on biology, psychology, ethology and other philosophical bases.' Neil finished his little speech
with a huge smile, threw out his chest and rocked back on his heels beaming at the sound
of what he had said.
Orville was uncomfortable with the way all of this was being delivered, what with the
flag and the cloth-patches and the stickers. But there was something in what Garland was
saying that struck a cord in him. It was not a cord of novelty, however, but a cord of famil-
iarity, a link with Orville's own knowledge and experience of using his snares to bring in a
few birds or his understanding of how to follow a rainbow trout under a bank of willow roots
and then to float a fly in over the fish.
'Hang around, you'll see what I mean.' Neil handed Orville several more pamphlets, a
sticker (like the one on the pick-up's rear window) and a cloth-patch.

Orville did hang around. Cars and more pick-vips started pulling off the main road into the
carpark. As he sat skimming through some of Neil's literature, the various arrivals, and the
numbers were building, congregated into three bunches of people around the tarmac. Orville
had to admit, the flag was bringing them in. He also had to admit that the pamphlets had lots
of interesting snippets and loads of addresses and web-sites where more information could
be found. He couldn't help noticing, however, that most of the more interesting contacts
referred to existing, and it appeared, quite traditional hunting organizations, a not insignifi-
cant proportion of which were actually trapping and snaring groups.
'Orville. Come on over and meet some of our people.' Neil was standing on the edge of
one of the groups, talking to a man who was cleaning the largest, shiniest, shot-gun Orville
had ever seen.
110 'Look at that. A real beauty, isn't it, Orville.' Orville bent down and caught his reflection
in the barrel of the gun.
'Impressive,' was all he could think to say. He noticed that all of the men in this group
were either furiously polishing guns (very few of which appeared to Orville's inexperienced
eye to need any cleaning at all) or were admiring the gleaming weapons of their friends. To
tell the truth, most appeared to be spending more time admiring their own reflections in the
shining barrels than removing specks of polish or grime. Orville couldn't be sure but from
the few times he had met up with hunters using shotguns, he couldn't remember ever see-
ing any serious working gun that wasn't a little greasy and grimy. Certainly he had never seen
any of them shine and gleam as these did. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

By the time he managed to get away, Orville had visited all three groups and had amassed a
carrier-bag of literature. Before he left, he had agreed to ride with Orville and the others
later that afternoon to the next town to help set up the next meeting. He had left his leav-
ing late enough as it was and would have to hurry back through the estate grounds to his
cottage, change, maybe even have time to stitch on the cloth-patch, and meet Orville at the
junction with the Interstate. Leaving the car-park, Orville looked back and saw the flag snap-
ping in the wind (he still couldn't figure out what the symbols on it represented, and he
seemed to have forgotten to ask anyone about it).The sight of the flag and the groups of peo-
ple below it caused a small, surprisingly warm feeling of recognition within Orville. With his
hand gripping his cloth-patch in his pocket, he plunged through the hedge and into the
estate grounds.

Coming back from the cottage in clean jeans, new boots and his only jacket (onto which he
had loosely pinned the yellow and red cloth-patch), Orville realized he was cutting it fine. If
he was not going to miss the chance to ride with Neil he would have to move it. He would
take a short-cut across the steam; as it had been running low all summer he knew he could
cross it without getting his boots caked with mud or his trousers dirty.
As he neared the stream he could hear, in the distance, the sounds of rifles, shotguns and
automatic weapons. Neil had said that the meeting was going to finish with a demonstration
from the Uzzi sales representative. It would be, as Orville had put it, 'an explosive grande
finale'. Neil put his foot onto the first stepping-stone in the stream.The shooting had stopped
and he heard the big engines of the pick-ups roar into life. First one, than three, than a dozen
and then it was just a distant rumble. He would have to move it if he was not going to miss
Orville at the junction.
He saw the trout jump just as his foot slipped off of the second stepping-stone. His boot
filled with water even before he could think to pull his foot back out of the stream. For a
half-second he hesitated. The image of the fish froze him, half-unbalanced, neither able to
stand straight, nor to continue forward. Flapping his arms in a vain fight against gravity he
tumbled into the shallow water and sat half-submerged on smooth, slimy green stones.
Though the fish was long gone, its image held Orville fast as water seeped through his
trousers. The thick sound of the convoy of pick-up traffic speeding along Narrow Lane
towards the junction with the Interstate brought Orville up and out of the water and splash-
ing towards the other side of the stream, slipping on more stones but keeping his balance,
putting his hand out to grab a root-hold on the bank. He knew he could still make it if he 111
cut through the back of the orchard. He glanced at his soaking clothes; the cloth-patch was
gone (it was probably chasing the fish down stream).
By the time Orville finally left the stream-side, Neil and the pick-ups were long-gone.
Orville had stayed at the stream until the deepening forest-darkness had finally blotted out
any chance of seeing the fish again. He had waited without moving, standing stock-still on
the bank, peering into the water, hoping for another glimpse, a ripple in the water's surface
even. Finally, shivering, elated but feeling a bit foolish, Orville crossed over the stream once
again and squelched back towards his cottage. On the way home he checked his traps for rab-
bits and quickly repaired a couple of torn snares. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:


Matthew C. Gutmann
There is nothing inherently new, of course, about the study of men in archaeology. For exam-
ple, in his important history of the creation of modern European masculinity George Mosse
(The Image of Man, Oxford, 1996) describes one objective of eighteenth-century archaeolo-
gists as entailing the rediscovery of ancient Greek sculpture. Among other things Mosse
demonstrates how an 'ideal of masculine beauty took its inspiration from Greece' and from
the Greek statues in which the male body is deified, to such an extent that 'the noble soul
of each youth manifests itself through the harmonious position of his naked body during
gymnastic exercises, foreshadowing the important role that gymnastics will play in shaping
modern manhood'.
What Bernard Knapp demonstrates in myriad ways in his evocative essay is what is new
about men in the contemporary field of archaeology. By examining possible trends such as a
transition from feminist to engendered archaeology, and the concomitant inclusion in such a
project of men as engendered and engendering beings, Knapp insists that we analyse with
fresh insights the many reasons for which we study the genders of men and women as men
and women. Knapp also examines what we can learn from .1 renewed attention to questions
of sexuality, bodies, biological reproduction, and gender divisions of labour, provided, that is,
we do so through new frameworks and employing novel methodologies. Nonetheless, we are
cautioned, with the promise of more comprehensive coverage (and specifically the greater
inclusion of men-as-men in feminist archaeology) comes a potential danger: if we are not
careful we may undermine certain of the very foundational premises of an 'archaeology
informed by feminism' that has only recently emerged, and in the process lose both its
explanatory power and, more importantly, its political raison d'etre to document and explain
gender inequality.
As other scholars like Meg Conkey and Joan Gero argued earlier in the 1990s, gender as
a topic of inquiry and feminism as a conceptual armoury have been longer neglected and
marginalized in archaeology than in many other fields. In addition, it seems clear that the
terms of debate regarding the place of gender in the broader archaeological scheme have his-
torically been and remain today quite intertwined with other controversies, for instance, dis-
cussions regarding scientistic and interpretive approaches in the discipline.
Especially given this particular historical trajectory, it is today worth emphasizing a point
perhaps only implicit in Knapp's contribution: there is nothing inherently feminist about an
112 engendered archaeology. What archaeologists manage to accomplish with respect to gender
studies will in the final analysis depend largely on historically contingent factors, among
which we should include prominently the research goals of archaeology's practitioners them-
selves as well as intellectual developments in related fields such as sociocultural anthropolo-
gy, art history, and ancient history.
In short, archaeology can either be made to address certain issues such as contradictory
theories of inequality and complementarity as pertain to gender divisions of labour, for
example, or gender as a subject of study can become simply another variable in a potion
mixed up for multiple regression modelling. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

This is the framework in which we must consider the advent of what Knapp calls in various
parts of his paper the new 'masculinist' derivatives, approaches, perspectives, and subjects
under study in archaeology todav. I must confess at the outset that other than adding males
of the species (as males) to the research agenda I am not quite clear how Knapp distinguish-
es his 'masculinist' project from any of various feminist ones or from a more broadly con-
ceived field of gender studies that would include men as well as •women as worthy of exam-
ination through a gender lens. Part of my confusion may stem from a lingering dissatisfac-
tion with Knapp's description of the important, if still nascent, theoretical mapping of hege-
monic and marginal (or subordinated) masculinities.
Rather than characterizing this discussion of hegemonic/marginal masculinities as
necessarily leading to dichotomous polarities, among sociocultural anthropologists and soci-
ologists studying men and masculinities we often find a far more nuanced attempt to cope
with structural and ideological contradictions involved with masculinity through time and
space: how to account for vast intracultural and intercultural diversity among men while at
the same time not losing sight of basic issues of inequality and domination. For instance, the
notions of hegemonic and subordinate masculinities have been employed effectively in
studying various contradictions relating to ethnicity, race, sexual preferences, and even pla-
tonic friendship as they manifest themselves in male-male relations.
Knapp is undoubtedly correc t that such discussions of hegemonic masculinities can lead
to dichotomous categories, but, then too, so can any typology involving spectrums and con-
tinuums which he proposes as more reliable models for masculinist archaeology. And, clear-
ly, unless inventing is our goal in itself, perhaps we might all be better off if we found ways
to describe and thus incorporate the multiplicity and multifaceted conceptualizations dis-
cussed elsewhere in Knapp s essay. None of what I say should, of course, lead us to conceal
the broad outlines of power dynamics amid a fog of unfathomable complexity, nuance, and
As to how far feminist archaeologists have progressed in their work to restore the disap-
peared women of the ages I will leave to more qualified judges to determine. Certainly in
sociocultural anthropology feminist restudies in the 1970s and beyond of cultures long con-
sidered 'captured' in early classic ethnographies have played an important role in teaching us
about the subject position of the researcher. Thus in a similar manner it seems important to
consider the state of efforts aimed at the historical recovery of women in the archaeological
record in order to help determine whether and how to include men-as-men as research sub-
jects in future digs and analyses.
And it seems that the question of how and when and where to study men in archaeolo- 113
gy may form one of the key sites of intersection arising between converging 'masculinist'
approaches aimed at filling out the breadth requirements of the discipline and widespread
preoccupations over adequately addressing the issues of power, politics, and ambiguity. Setting
aside outmoded essentialist categories (about men as well as women) is certainly critical at
this juncture in developing gendered archaeology beyond its present configuration.
Nonetheless, the abolition of categories itself has political consequences, and one must be on
guard against refining the politics right out of one's refined studies, particularly when this
may be harder to discern because adding 'men' to the stew seems so commonsensical. Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

Certainly we should, with Meg Conkey and Ruth Tringham, do everything possible to pre-
vent'runaway relativisms', and maintain a certain vigilance regarding the complex distinction
between identifying difference and identifying inequality.
For all these reasons I applaud Knapp's attention toward the end of his paper to matters
of bodies, selves and identities. Far from going beyond the 'screen' of gender, and in contrast
to certain performative theories of gender, I believe these qualities and substances are at the
very heart of a material and a materialist approach to gender. If gender is seen as systemic
and not simply ideological, as those like Roger Lancaster and Micaela di Leonardo have taken
pains to demonstrate, then even the physical characteristics of biological sex may be interro-
gated. Clearly archaeological research offers special contributions to the study overall on men
and masculinities; to the extent that archaeologists ('masculinist' and 'feminist' alike) bring
their richly historical perspectives to the broader debates on gender and sexuality will, in
turn, help to ground the larger field of study.
By way of illustration, putting aside morphological-genetic-hormonal essentialisms so
popular in sociobiological circles today certainly need not require that we ignore bodies
except as they pertain to ideas about somatic realms. Bodies physical never need be taken for
granted as a priori facts merely awaiting archaeological, or any other, confirmation. It is evi-
dent that we must not slip into an easy ignoring and ignorance of bodies physical; as with
bodies social and political, corporality deserves repeated examination and debate. If we dis-
miss bodies' corporality we run the risk of tripping backwards into a radical idealism of a
most nihilist sort. This does not help a bit to extricate archaeology from wizened determin-
As many scholars from a variety of fields have pointed out, the emergence of gender as a
novel focus within preexisting disciplines does entail the development of new methodolo-
gies in order to get answers to the new questions from 'mysterious', or at least rather
untapped, material. In this sense, then, men from the archaeological past constitute a formerly
underutilized resource for historical data and contemporary analysis about gender. At the
same time, and commendably in his essay, Knapp refuses to remain satisfied with simple
methodological advances. Indeed he joins others who urge us to carry out a comprehensive
reconceptualization of not only gender studies within the archaeology, but a revamping of
the field as a whole based on the significance of gender as a central systemic feature of soci-
eties transhistorically and cross-culturally.
So, then, is a 'masculinist' defense needed for feminist archaeology to thrive? Absolutely
not. Is it nonetheless potentially valuable for men to become involved in a dynamic, multi-
114 faceted and thoroughly gendered archaeology as investigators and investigated? Most assured-
ly. From topics as varied as the relationship between alcohol consumption and masculinity in
the archaeological past to issues of violence, war, and ethnic identities, the study of men and
masculinities, of men-as-men, in eras and locales without written histories, for example, is
largely unknown territory. How to document historical change and stasis in male-female
relations, in sexual practices and fantasies, and how to explore change and stasis in individual
lives are just a few of the areas that await future archaeological scrutiny.
What role archaeologists will play in the twenty-first century when analysing the sculp-
tures and paintings, the floor patterns and hunting implements, the ceremonial bowls and Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

objects of exchange from the past, how archaeologists interpret bodies male and female and
otherwise from bygone epochs, and what lessons these past experiences might hold for the
next generations depends, again, on what issues archaeologists today and in the future make
us address and debate. Bernard Knapp has made a signal contribution to these efforts at con-
structing a full-fledged gendered archaeology.


Paul Treherne
Knapp's paper deserves recognition not only for its contribution to the burgeoning discourse
on gender archaeology, but for enriching discussion with a masculinist vocabulary drawn
from wider sources within and outside the academy. Despite the well-intentioned and sym-
pathetic discussion, however, one must ask whether we are any better informed from the
paper as to what a masculinist approach to archaeology might look like.
Beyond distinguishing a 'motivated masculinism' from the men's movements which have
sprung up as a backlash to feminism, Knapp offers the reader a familiar smattering of over-
taxed archaeological concepts: active material culture, social discourse, individual agency, etc.
The highly academic review of developments in feminist thought, gender archaeology and
masculinism may seem productive, but it risks overproduction - rendering powerful ideas lit-
tle more than discursive rhetoric through disarming and reabsorbing them into 'the lan-
guage-machine of the theory industrie' (Stiles 1996, 5).
In all fairness, Knapp is merely playing a worn game of conceptual consumerism which
has come to define post-processual archaeology. The rules are simple: recognition is accord-
ed the person who harnesses an original set of ideas, dilutes and packages them for general
consumption. By confining the discussion to the theoretical level, Knapp ignores the fact that
some masculinist approach to archaeology are already available to us in the work of our con-
temporaries, most notably Michael Shanks. His vivid account of the life style and world view
of the male hoplite in archaic Greece, particularly as idealized in Corinthian vase-painting,
has only recently received notoriety and regrettably remains overshadowed by his earlier
polemics in the 'Red and Black Books'. For all its potential shortcomings as gender archeol-
ogy, Shanks' work provides a concrete and highly nuanced illustration of how to adress mas-
culine identity and ideology in the past, and moreover how to situate these in broader social
institutions. After the excesses of the 1980s, archeology today could benefit from more orig-
inal efforts of this sort and fewer merchants peddling the latest neologism. 115


A. Bernard Knapp
I thank the respondents for their quite diverse reactions to my paper. Gutmann begins by
noting that any engagement with feminist theory in archaeology needs to reassure the world
of gender studies that there is no intention of undermining the 'foundational premises' of a Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

feminist archaeology; by so doing we would jeopardize its explanatory power and damage its
political potential to critique gender inequality. Throughout my paper, I was at pains to
emphasize the feminist underpinnings of masculinist theory, and at the same time to note
that we must ensure that 'reactionary masculinities' like those of Iron John must be differen-
tiated from the concept of masculinity as understood by sociologists, sociocultural anthro-
pologists, psychologists and others. Gutmann succinctly expands but equally makes my point
by noting that the contemporary study of men and masculinities reveals a 'nuanced attempt
to cope with structural and ideological contradictions involved with masculinity through
time and space', and that notions of hegemonic and subordinate masculinities have been used
very effectively 'in studying various contradictions relating to ethnicity, race, sexual prefer-
ences, and even platonic friendship as they manifest themselves in male-male relations.'These
are not masculinist reactions against feminist theory or a feminist archeology but rather
responses to them, intended to expand the dialogue and engage all archaeologists in the pur-
suit of a gendered archaeology.
Gutmann suggests that I could have argued more explicitly that there is nothing inher-
ently feminist about a gendered archaeology. If he is right, then I was indeed remiss, because
one of the main points I sought to make and in addition to highlight by quoting studies like
those of Meskell or Wylie, was the need for both women and men, the practitioners of
archaeology, to take part equally in this enterprise. I don't know how much more explicit I
can make my intention, but since it seems that very few people - and certainly not the
respondents - hear it, I can but state it again, and again:

a gendered archaeology must involve both women and men ... to make it a more
dynamic, multifaceted concept in archaeological interpretation (i.e. of social theory in
archaeology), one through which archaeologists - including mainstream archaeolo-
gists - may produce less biased accounts of the past. If there is to be any seriously-
considered debate on gender in archaeology, it must engage both feminist and mas-
culinist perspectives, consider how to reconceptualize the categories within which we
construct the past, and define alternative means of archaeological interpretation.

Indeed, and speaking more generally: as Gutmann observes the impact and success of gender
studies will be determined largely by historically contingent factors, which in archaeology
involve our current research agendas and whether we choose to address such issues as, for
example, contradictory theories of inequality and complementarity within gender divisions
116 of labour, or to use gender as '... simply another variable in a potion mixed up for multiple
regression modelling'. I trust, perhaps too optimistically, that any attempt to develop a gen-
dered archaeology would focus on the former rather than the latter.
Gutmann is not clear how I should distinguish my 'masculinist project' from any of the
various feminist projects in archaeology, or from a more broadly conceived field of gender
studies that would include both men and •women as 'worthy of examination through a gen-
der lens'. I don't want to distinguish a masculinist approach. I want to extend current theo-
retical approaches to incorporate all the valuable work being done in masculinist studies (but
which some feminists, and many women who engage with gender studies studies in archae- Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

ology apparently refuse to consider solely because of the term 'masculinist') and to insist that
male archaeologists too must somehow become involved in one of the major intellectual
challenges to their discipline in the late 20th century. Just as feminist approaches have helped
archaeologists to realise how self-reflexivity might minimise masculinist hegemonies within
the discipline, so might masculinist approaches help us to address issues of power, politics, ide-
ology and ambiguity in the study of the past.
So, as Gutmann notes, whilst feminist theory certainly does not require a masculinist
defense to construct a 'full-fledged gendered archaeology', at the same time it is critical for
men to become involved if we wish to realize a dynamic and multifaceted discipline, both as
investigators and investigated (to note Gutmann's nice turn of phrase).
Evidently Bailey (but ... you may read anything you wish into his narrative) andTreherne
are disenchanted with theory for the sake of theory. They claim to have heard it all before,
although a quick glance at their own relevant work reveals that these two critics have over-
looked, ignored or are unaware of 80-90% of the literature I engage in my discussion. I am
disinclined to spend much effort in responding to literary tales of whose meaning I'm uncer-
tain, or to such a ruthless and truncated dismissal by someone whom we might assume had
some interest in 'masculinist' approaches in archaeology (see P. Treherne, 1995: The warrior's
beauty: the masculine body and self-identity in Bronze-Age Europe, Journal of European
archaeology 3, 105-143). Despite the title of his article, however, Treherne is not only disin-
terested in masculinist theory, he appears to be unaware of its existence. He is interested in
men and men's goods, not theory or sexuality, and so appears to be singularly unqualified to
Both Bailey and Treherne have missed my key point about involving all archaeologists,
female and male, in this debate; in fact I suggest that their petty criticisms have only revealed
the miasma of their own perspectives. If Douglass Bailey truly feels I've ripped off everyone
else's ideas about a gendered archaeology in order to stitch together a new, masculinist flag
that I'm hoping others will follow, then my naked response is that people who live in glass
houses shouldn't throw stones. If Paul Treherne's invective ('Knapp offers the reader a famil-
iar smattering of over-taxed archaeological concepts...') has any basis, it surely does not lie in
the concepts to which he alludes: in fact I happily acknowledge that I presented various ideas
(masculinist in orientation) that have been round for quite some time in the social sciences,
but which archaeologists - including most feminist approaches - have ignored or dismissed
across almost the entire range of the discipline. Moreover, Treherne's dismissal in one sen-
tence of post-processual archaeology and his sycophantic call to follow 'original minds like
Shanks' strikes me as at once contradictory, misinformed and completely out of touch with 117
what is happening today in feminist theory within archaeology, in newer approaches to sex
and the body, and in classical archaeology above all. Neither Treherne nor Shanks begin to
come to grips with masculinist theory, and both sidestep issues of sexuality that are central
to current gender approaches in archaeology. To 'do' men is not to comprehend masculinity,
or masculinist theory, or feminist theory for that matter.
The original version of my paper was presented in a unique venue: The Third Australian
Women in Archaeology Conference (Sydney 1995). To the best of my memory, three other
men presented papers at the conference and, to differing degrees, all these papers were Downloaded: 16 May 2010 IP address:

received with a certain amount of scepticism, if not hostility. Once I expanded the present
paper for digestion by what I had hoped would be a wider archaeological or anthropologi-
cal audience, I encountered further resistance from some mainstream journals in the field: the
criticisms were, essentially, these:
1) theory in and of itself is not worth publishing;
2) feminists in archaeology have already said all this.
Insofar as theory is concerned, I accept that the world of archaeology increasingly turns
its back on theory presented •without case studies, and that is no bad thing. However, by no
means does this rule out the need for theory qua theory, particularly when it is adapted from
quite different and diverse disciplines. As far as feminist theoreticians in archaeology are con-
cerned, I could not in 1995 and still cannot today cite one article that covers the range of
literature I sought to consider in my article. This is not to say, however, that no women are
involved or interested in the topic: Lynn Meskell's work in Egypt, and that of Rosemary
Joyce in Mesoamerica, both reveal a nuanced engagement with the masculinist literature, as
well as with the body and sexuality.
However, this leads me to my final point: why did no women respond to this article? Is
'masculinist' a term so poisoned that no respectable feminist will touch it? Is there no wish
to incorporate men into an archaeology of gender, sex, class and age? Are there feminist gate-
keepers who wish to keep these areas of archaeology privileged and under control?
Meskell has pointed out in several studies published and forthcoming that a major dilem-
ma exists within archaeology today: feminist archaeologists have claimed gender and the body
as their own area of discourse and regard their own work as privileged in this regard. Clearly
some feminists fear that men will simply come to dominate gender studies and research on
the sexed body, and that power strategies typically employed as part of hegemonic masculin-
ities will pry them from their now-privileged roost. Meskell also points out that such schol-
ars have failed to realize just how much their current position still subscribes to a subordi-
nating and deterministic paradigm. For gender theorists in archaeology who aim radically to
alter the discipline, and who seek to present dynamic new insights as well as an altogether dif-
ferent framework in which to conduct archaeological interpretation, masculinist theory offers
a promise, not a threat. The danger lies with archaeologists, male or female, radical or conser-
vative, old fogeys or young, who prefer to maintain the status quo, and who wonder why in
the world anyone would ever attempt to do a social archaeology in the first place.

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