Gender Abstractions and Imaginary Journeys

Prof. David Guss (Tufts University) 

Gender Abstractions and Imaginary Journeys

The Yekuana Indians of Venezuela’s Orinoco headwaters were relatively isolated until the 1970s when increased contact with the country’s dominant mestizo population led to various changes in their material culture. Like colonialism among many indigenous groups, these changes dramatically effected gender roles. It also led to an important discussion in cross-cultural aesthetics, transforming the production of material objects and the manner in which they were understood. This paper will explore this conversation and the conflation of value and ideology that led to a new role for women basket makers in a tradition formerly dominated by men.






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