Gentlemen and Amazons: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, 1861–1900

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University of California Press, Feb 6, 2011 - FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS - 275 pages
Gentlemen and Amazons traces the nineteenth-century genesis and development of an important contemporary myth about human origins: that of a matriarchal prehistory. Cynthia Eller explores the intellectual history of the myth, which arose not from male scholars who wanted to limit the aspirations of the nascent women's movement and vindicate the patriarchal family model as a higher stage of human development. Eller tells the stories these men told, analyzes the gendered assumptions they made, and describes the moral lessons they drew from the presumed existence of prehistoric matriarchies. She reveals the astonishing variety of advocates who have supported the myth--feminists and misogynists, fascists and communists, sexual puritans and libertarians--and provides the necessary context for understanding how feminists of the 1970s and 1980s embraced as historical "fact" a discredited nineteenth-century idea.
 

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Review: Gentlemen and Amazons: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, 1861-1900

User Review  - Jessie - Goodreads

Whoops, sorry, I reviewed the book under the wrong title(red face). What do I do when I 'm not being daft? Don't take that as typical behaviour of supporters for matriarchal theories of history. My apologies. Jessica Read full review

Contents

Matriarchal Myth before Bachofen
15
J J Bachofen and Das Mutterrecht
36
Anthropology Finds
65
Communists and Feminists
100
Mother Right on the Continent
133
Anthropology and Matriarchal Myth
162
Why Then?
180
Notes
193
Bibliography
247
Index
265
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Cynthia Eller is Professor of Women's Studies and Religious Studies at Montclair State University. She is the author of The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future; Am I a Woman? A Skeptic's Guide to Gender; and Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America.

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