Cemeteries register the narratives survivors tell about their dead. We can glean information about the position of individuals, families, communities and historical demography in local contexts. Besides being rich sources of local and family histories. Headstones, monuments, grave layouts, and cemetery locations can illuminate the intersections of gender, race, politics, economics, and ideology in the past. In this joint Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies class, students will consider the cemetery as a physical site to consider the relationships between the scientific study of sex difference and feminist theories of gender difference. The course begins with two big questions: how do local cemeteries represent gender? how have representations of gender in these cemeteries changed over time? The course will begin with classroom lectures and discussions that bring feminist theory and methods to bear on bioarchaeological methodologies and vice versa. But for most of the term students will be called upon to conduct original research by surveying local cemeteries and talking with descendants. They will present their research in some yet to be determined format back to the local community.
We need to decide on the format for the students to present their research. Will we replace traditional papers and posters with more digital techniques that allow them to include mapping, audio, along with graphic representations and images.