Thesis abstract ‘Gender and Rock Art: A Content Analysis of Gender as an Interpretive Framework in South Africa, the USA and Australia’
03rd May 2014
BA(Hons), School of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous Studies, Monash University, Clayton, October 2013
Gender has had a growing impact in both archaeological and anthropological research since the 1970s, and has created a platform from which women can become a focus of research. However, gendered research falls under the banner of feminist theory which has created a number of issues within the archaeological profession. The major issue in feminist research is that in many cases an exploration of gender is substituted for an exploration of women in past cultures. The broad question that this thesis addresses is whether gender is an appropriate research tool in archaeological discourse.
This study, through a content analysis of rock art research from South Africa, the United States of America and Australia from 1990 to the present, explores specific uses of gender and argues that the lack of definitive understanding of what gender entails creates a difficult platform from which to interpret the art of other cultures. Furthermore, if researchers cannot move beyond the boundaries of their own gender understanding, how can they appropriately identify gendered social organisation and gendered behaviour in other cultures?
The result is that gender use in all three geographic locales shows signs of feminist theory, a lean towards females as areas of archaeological research and a broad-scale lack of gender definitions from which to understand the context of gender in rock art research.
Type: Thesis abstract