Women of the Forest

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Columbia University Press, Aug 13, 2013 - History - 328 pages
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One of the first works to focus on gender in anthropology, this book remains an important teaching tool on gender and life in the Amazon. Women of the Forest covers Yolanda and Robert Murphy's year of fieldwork among the Munduruc people of Brazil in 1952, taking into account the historical, ecological, and cultural setting. The book features a new critical foreword written collectively by respected anthropologists who were all students of the Murphys.


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Page xxxix - ... men, then the whole society, men and women alike, votes them as important. When the same occupations are performed by women, they are regarded as less important. In a great number of human societies men's sureness of their sex role is tied up with their right, or ability, to practice some activity that women are not allowed to practice. Their maleness, in fact, has to be underwritten by preventing women from entering some field or performing some feat.
Page xxvi - feminine personality" has been a nearly universal fact, it can be argued that its characteristics may have contributed further to the view of women as being somehow less cultural than men. That is, women would tend to enter into relationships with the world that culture might see as being more "like nature...
Page lxi - ... personality nor from playing an appreciable part in literature and affairs. In other words, it is important to ascertain what customary or written law and philosophic theory have to say on feminine rights and obligations. But it is more important to know whether social practice conforms to theory or leaves it halting in the rear, as it so frequently does.
Page xxvi - ... transcending and transforming things through the superimposition of abstract categories and transpersonal values. Woman's relationships tend to be, like nature, relatively unmediated, more direct, whereas man not only tends to relate in a more mediated way, but in fact ultimately often relates more consistently and strongly to the mediating categories and forms than to the persons or objects themselves. It is...
Page xvii - Development unfolds through conflict, the moving power of history is human passions which produce wholly unintended results, and the structure of reality is a structure of oppositions, of elements that contradict each other and limit each other's possibilities.

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About the author (2013)

Yolanda Murphy, previously on the faculty of Empire State College (SUNY), is retired.

Robert F. Murphy was professor of anthropology at Columbia University. He was the author of many books and articles, including Headhunter's Heritage: Social and Economic Change Among the Munduruc Indians and The Body Silent: The Different World of the Disabled, for which he won a Columbia University Lionel Trilling Award.

R. Brian Ferguson, editor of the foreword, is professor of anthropology at Rutgers University -- Newark. His books include The State, Identity, and Violence and Yanomami Warfare: A Political History.

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