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The initial idea for this reader came from the experience of teaching undergraduate courses in gender and anthropology. In reviewing the textbooks available for an introductory course, we came to the conclusion that there was a need for a readable text that built on the classic contributions of the 1970s while also incorporating the more recent and diverse literature on gender roles and ideology around the world. Although a number of sophisticated theoretical works devoted to this subject existed, we felt there was a dearth of classroom material available in one volume and appropriate for less advanced students, whether undergraduates or beginning graduate students.
We have had five goals in mind as we selected materials for the third edition. First, as in previous editions, we want to introduce students to the most significant topics in the field of the anthropology of gender. These include the study of men and women in prehistory; the relationship between biology and culture; the cultural construction of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality; variations in the sexual division of labor and economic organization; women's involvement in ritual and religion; and the impact on gender issues of various forces of change such as colonialism, the rise of the state, and the global economy.
Second, we think it is important to maintain the broad cross-cultural coverage evident in earlier editions. This breadth encourages comparative analysis of the themes under discussion and allows us to address issues of gender in industrial society as well as in developing societies.
Third, we have expanded our efforts to complement researchon women's lives with articles that deal with masculinity and male gender roles. Although a truly balanced reader may not yet be possible, feminist theory is increasingly being applied to the study of men. We think this edition includes some of the most exciting new research in this domain.
Fourth, we have always been committed to combining theoretically and ethnographically based articles in each section of the book. We hope that we have compiled a volume that can stand alone or, if the instructor so desires, can be complemented by the use of full ethnographies.
Fifth, in every edition we have included introductions to each section that review as clearly as possible some of the significant issues debated in particular subject areas in the anthropology of gender. These introductions, updated for the current edition, are intended to orient students to the articles in the section and to provide a context in which readers can more fully understand each article. Each introduction concludes with a list of references that can be used by teachers and students to examine further the questions raised in that section.
We do not expect all instructors to assign the sections in the order that they appear in the text. This order makes sense to us, but our ultimate goal is to provide for maximum flexibility in teaching. We also have no intention of imposing a particular theoretical perspective, although our own predilections may be apparent to some readers. We include readings that reflect a variety of theoretical orientations to enable instructors to emphasize their own approach to the subject.
The text concludes with an updated list of recommended films organized by sections of this book. We have reviewed many of these films, and we hope that all of them will successfully complement the readings in the text.
Many people have contributed substantially to the preparation and development of this book. For the first edition, Andrew Webb provided invaluable clerical and organizational assistance. The undergraduate students in Professor Sargent's Sex Roles course during the fall semester of 1990 and the fall semester of 1995 offered valuable criticisms of selected articles. Their opinions continue to influence us enormously in the final selection process. John Phinney acted as an invaluable library of knowledge for obscure references; Sue Linder-Linsley offered indispensable computer advice and tirelessly scanned in text to save us time in the preparation of the second edition; and Sue Racine and Scott Langley contributed clerical assistance. Tim Benner and Louann Miller worked conscientiously to help us complete the third edition. We are also grateful to Southern Methodist University for various forms o� support over the years.
We want to thank the reviewers of the original manuscript, and the professors around the world who have used previous editions and offered valuable suggestions for improvements to the third edition. We thank our project assistant Angela Stone who answered numerous queries during the summer and fall of 1999. Finally, we are grateful to Nancy Roberts and Sharon Chambliss of Prentice Hall for their confidence in our judgment and their constant support of this project. We have a wonderful partnership!
Caroline B. Brettell
Carolyn F. Sargent