Erect Men/Undulating Women: The Visual Imagery of Gender, "Race" and Progress in Reconstructive Illustrations of Human Evolution / Edition 1

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Overview

Based on intensive study of human origin illustrations, responses from students and colleagues and research into reconstructive illustration and feminist criticism of Western art, this ground-breaking book traces the subtle ways in which paleoanthropological conventions have influenced and have shifted in the creation of these illustrations. Wiber reveals that embedded meanings in these illustrations go beyond gender to include two other ubiquitous themes—racial superiority and upward cultural progress. Underlying all these themes, she found a basic conservatism in the paleoanthropological approach to evolutionary theory.

Erect Men/Undulating Women provides a deeper understanding of popularized illustrations of human origins, but, more importantly, it encourages readers to gain a sensitivity to the ways in which Western culture constructs “scientific” findings that are compatible with its deeply held beliefs and values.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores embedded meanings in illustrations of human evolution produced for textbooks and the mass media, focusing on how changing paleoanthropological conventions have influenced images of gender, racial superiority, and upward cultural progress. Finds a basic conservatism in approaches to evolutionary theory, and sets it in a larger picture of western culture's construction of scientific findings that are compatible with deeply held beliefs and values. Canadian card order number: C97-930147-5. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780889203082
  • Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
  • Publication date: 11/14/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Melanie G. Wiber received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alberta. Her research interests include development studies, legal anthropology and gender studies. She is the author of Politics, Property and Law in the Philippine Uplands (WLU Press) and co–editor with Joep Spiertz of The Role of Law in Natural Resources Management, which is available in North America from WLU Press.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
1 Of Gender, "Race," Progress and Evolution: Human Evolution Reconstructive Illustration 1
2 Contested Knowledge in the Human Evolution Story Field: Man the Hunter versus Woman the Gatherer 17
3 Reconstructive Human Evolution Illustrations: Utilizing Western Art Conventions in a Contested Story Field 47
4 Gender: The Ubiquitous Story Operator 75
5 Conflation and the Significant Other: Racism and Codes of the Primitive 105
6 Window or Mirror? Primates and Foragers: Analogies of the Pre-Cultural Life 121
7 Progress: Inevitable as Moral Rewards - The Ultimate Story Operator 153
8 Lucy as Barbie Doll: Eroticism in the Human Evolution Meta-Narrative 189
9 The Commodification of Human Evolution: Selling a Story Field through Illustrations 203
10 Conclusions and Future Directions for Research 227
Figures 241
References Cited 257
Index 279
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