Thursday, November 8, 2018
Title: "Gender and Space in the Mongolian Taiga"
Abstract: The human division of labor by gender is unusual in the animal kingdom and varies considerably cross-culturally, but the identification of gender in the archaeological record, particularly that of hunter-gatherers, remains problematic. Thus, one major dimension of past human cultural variability remains difficult to study. In 2012, I initiated ethnoarchaeological research with Dukha reindeer herders in Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia. The primary aim of that work is to understand the factors governing use of space at small scales. Gender was not a focus of this work, but our methods of data collection, careful mapping of human activity in Dukha campsites, resulted in a robust dataset concerning gender differences in the use of space. In this presentation, I use these data to explore two simple questions: 1) Should there be gendered spaces in the archaeological record of nomadic peoples?; 2) If so, should they be archaeologically visible? I argue that the answers to both questions are likely “yes” and conclude with some thoughts about how gender might be studied archaeologically through space and time.