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In Wom(b)an: A Cultural-Narrative Reading of the Hebrew Bible Barrenness Narratives Janice Pearl Ewurama De-Whyte offers a reading of the Hebrew Bible barrenness narratives. The original word “wom(b)an” visually underscores the centrality of a productive womb to female identity in the ANE and Hebrew contexts. Conversely, barrenness was the ultimate tragedy and shame of a woman. Utilizing Akan cultural custom as a lens through which to read the Hebrew barrenness tradition, De-Whyte uncovers another kind of barrenness within these narratives. Her term “social barrenness” depicts the various situations of childlessness that are generally unrecognized in western cultures due to the western biomedical definitions of infertility. Whether biological or social, barrenness was perceived to be the greatest threat to a woman’s identity and security as well as the continuity of the lineage. Wom(b)an examines these narratives in light of the cultural meanings of barrenness within traditional cultures, ancient and present.
Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics re-examines the relationship between Eurasia’s past and its present by interrogating the social construction of time and the archaeological production of culture. Traditionally, archaeological research in Eurasia has focused on assembling normative descriptions of monolithic cultures that endure for millennia, largely immune to the forces of historical change. The papers in this volume seek to document forces of difference and contestation in the past that were produced in the perceptible engagements of peoples, things, and places. The research gathered here convincingly demonstrates that these forces made social life in ancient Eurasia rather more fitful and its publics considerably more unruly than archaeological research has traditionally allowed.
Contributors are Mikheil Abramishvili, Paula N. Doumani Dupuy, Magnus Fiskesjö, Hilary Gopnik, Emma Hite, Jean-Luc Houle, Erik G. Johannesson, James A. Johnson, Lori Khatchadourian, Ian Lindsay, Maureen E. Marshall, Mitchell S. Rothman, Irina Shingiray, Adam T. Smith, Kathryn O. Weber and Xin Wu.