“Unearthing Matriarchy”

The Innovations group blog at the Chronicle of Higher Education has a post titled “Unearthing Matriarchy,” about how the myth of peaceful ancient matriarchies became firmly entrenched (for a time) in Academia, in a way that biblical literalism never could—outside of a denominational college.

Writer Peter Wood points out that while someone who believed openly in literal seven-day creation of the Earth would have a hard time getting hired as a biology professor—and rightly so, in his opinion—a literal believer in the theories of Marija Gimbutas would have no such problem getting a job in a women’s studies department.

I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon, but it is a useful thought experiment. Why won’t higher education hold women’s studies to ordinary standards of historical accuracy? Because contemporary American higher education cares far more about protecting its favored group of political ideologies than it does its standards of rational inquiry and scrupulous use of evidence. The standards are cited most conspicuously when they lend themselves to fencing off members of disfavored groups. Why is higher education having such a hard time these days attracting public support? A good part of the reason is that it is so self-indulgent.

Maybe so.  Also, serious peaceful ancient matriarch-ists are tiny in numbers compared to biblical creationists. They do not turn up in state legislatures trying to thwart the teaching of evolution and the choice of school textbooks. They are invisible to the news media.  Having little political power outside Academia and para-Academia, they are treated more gently within its walls.

(Via Prof. Reynolds)

3 thoughts on ““Unearthing Matriarchy”

  1. Pingback: The Wild Hunt » The Cynthia Eller Brickbat

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  3. Pitch313

    Maybe there was an ancient matriarchy. Archaeology cannot inform us for sure and all.

    As for academic fads, well, there they are. One year, nobody at your school, in your department, among your discipline, believes in ancient matriarchy. Next year, most everybody does. Then, maybe, your department takes up ancient anarchy, and the matriarchy fad moves along to another department, school, or discipline.

    Besides, some ideas are fun! Not necessarily because they are correct in themselves, but because they add a little slip and slide.

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