Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (4th Edition)

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9780131849716: Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (4th Edition)

This reader introduces learners to the most significant topics in the field of anthropology of gender—drawing not only from classic sources, but also from the most recent, diverse literature on gender roles and ideology around the world. It features high quality introductions to each section of articles, broad geographical coverage, and the most current research available. An extensive range of topics includes the relationship between biology and culture as it pertains to gender issues; gender and prehistory; the cultural construction of gender and sexuality; women and the state; and the impact of development and the global economy on women. For an awareness and understanding of the sociology of women and gender roles.

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About the Author:

Caroline Brettell received her BA degree from Yale University and her MA and Ph.D. degrees from Brown University. She joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University in 1988, and in 2003 was named Dedman Family Distinguished Professor. From 1989-1994 she served as Director of Women's Studies and from 1994-2004 she served as Chair of the Department of Anthropology. She is the author of Men Who Migrate, Women Who Wait: Population and History in a Portuguese Parish (1986), We Have Already Cried Many Tears: The Stories of Three Portuguese Migrant Women (1982, 1995), Writing Against the Wind: A Mother's Life History (1999) and Anthropology and Migration: Essays on Transnationalism, Ethnicity and Identity (2003); co-author with Richard Brettell of Painters and Peasants in the 19th Century (1983); editor of When The Read What We Write: The Politics of Ethnography (1993); coeditor of International Migration: The Female Experience (1986), Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Prentice-Hall 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005), Gender and Health: An International Perspective (1996), and Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines (2000). She is also the author of numerous book chapters and articles. She currently is Principal Investigator on a project funded through the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation titled "Immigrants, Rights and Incorporation in a Suburban Metropolis." Professor Brettell has served as a member of NIH Study Section-SNEM 3, and several selection panels for the Social Science Research Council and the NEH. She has served as President of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe and of the Social Science History Association.

Carolyn Sargent received her Bachelors degree from Michigan State University, her MA degree from the University of Manchester, and her Ph.D. from Michigan State University. She joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University in 1979. She has been serving as Director of Women's Studies since 1994. She is currently a research fellow at the University of Paris V. Sargent is the author of The Cultural Context of Therapeutic Choice: Obstetrical Decisions Among the Bariba of Benin (1982), and Maternity, Medicine and Power; Reproductive Decisions in Urban Benin (1989); and coeditor of Medical Anthropology: A Handbook of Theory and Method, Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Prentice-Hall 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005), Gender and Health: An International Perspective (1996); Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge (1997), and Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood. In addition to several book chapters, she has also authored numerous articles, many of them published in Medical Anthropological Quarterly and Social Science and Medicine. She is the recipient of many research grants and fellowships and is currently Principal Investigator of a project funded through the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation titled "Reproduction and Representations of Family among Malian Migrants in Paris." She is currently serving on a Senior Advisory Panel of the National Science Foundation and on the Executive Board for the Society for Medical Anthropology. In Dallas she serves as a Community Representative for both Parkland and Baylor Hospitals.

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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 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 fourth 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, sexuality, personhood, and the body; 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, the global economy, and migration.

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 research on women's lives with articles that deal with masculinity and male gender roles. Feminist theory is increasingly being applied to the study of men and we have tried to represent some of this research in our volume.

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 although for this edition we have rearranged the sections slightly. The order makes sense to us, but our ultimate goal is to provide for maximum flexibility in teaching. Indeed, there are articles in some sections that can be related to articles in other sections. 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 a 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.

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