Posted by: Johan Normark | November 18, 2010

Gender and culture articles in preparation

Apart from my current projects I am also preparing articles for two anthologies. One of them I have already mentioned on the blog. This anthology will be based on a workshop that will be held in Stockholm two weeks from now: To Tender Gender- The Pasts and Futures of Gender Research in Archaeology. I have changed the abstract for my paper and the future article called The road of life: Body politics of Ix Wak Chanil Ajaw. Here it is:

The lives of Maya rulers’ appear to have been conceptualized as roads along which certain events took place. Common in the hieroglyphic corpus are accession dates and death dates of male and female rulers. Less common are the at least 35 known birth dates. These were often retrospective and not contemporaneous, often inscribed after the ruler was inaugurated. The birth dates were important since the day of one’s birth affected the rest of one’s life. Having a good birth day may have been an advantage Inscriptions mention pre-accession rituals that may be related to certain life-crises in the rulers’ early phases of life. Entering and ending certain sections of these roads are sometime related to death phrases in the inscriptions. However, death and rebirth were closely related since there existed a belief in reincarnation or rather recycling of souls.

One of the few known female rulers was Ix Wak Chanil Ajaw (“Lady Six Sky”) of Naranjo (or Saal). It is her road of life that will be followed in this text. However, this will be done within John Protevi’s framework of body politics and political affect. This allows us to unite the somatic and the social, to go from the individual to the “superstate” powers and from synchronic to diachronic processes. During Wak Chanil’s road of life she encountered several thresholds that created her unique constellation, her unique diagram.

The second article will be included in an anthology called Revisiting Pandora’s Hope: Anthropological Perspectives on Technological Choice and Social Agency in an Irreducibly Complex World (edited by Stephanie Koerner and Diane Roege). I will most likely include my article Archaeology beyond culture: assembling the Maya lowlands in this volume:

Archaeological cultures, such as the Maya culture, rely on tree-like or arborescent models where materials are ordered by essential, hierarchical, and transcendent principles. The overarching culture determines and signifies the identity and capacities of every single object. Other approaches that emphasize structuration between agent and society rely on similar arborescent models where emergence is reduced to the human agent acting in a seamless whole. Instead, an approach where the human agent becomes only one of several interacting components that form concrete assemblages of various scales is proposed. Deleuze’s ontology and DeLanda’s assemblage theory are used to outline a multi-scalar perspective that bridges the human and the non-human, heterogeneity and homogeneity, structure and agent. Materials are not defined by subordinate relations to humans or culture but by their capacities to exercise their properties in various assemblages in the Cochuah region in the northern Maya Lowlands in Mexico.


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