Erect Men, Undulating Women: The Visual Imagery of Gender, “Race” and Progress in Reconstructive Illustrations of Human Evolution

Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 14 nov 1997 - 290 páginas

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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Of Gender Race Progress and Evolution Human Evolution Reconstructive Illustration
Contested Knowledge in the Human Evolution Story Field Man the Hunter versus Woman the Gatherer
Reconstructive Human Evolution Illustrations Utilizing Western Art Conventions in a Contested Story Field
Gender The Ubiquitous Story Operator
Conflation and the Significant Other Racism and Codes of the Primitive
Window or Mirror? Primates and Foragers Analogies of the PreCultural Life
Progress Inevitable as Moral Rewards The Ultimate Story Operator
Lucy as Barbie Doll Eroticism in the Human Evolution MetaNarrative
The Commodification of Human Evolution Selling a Story Field through Illustrations
Conclusions and Future Directions for Research
References Cited
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Sobre el autor (1997)

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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