UB conference: How human gender and landscape have influenced one another from the Paleolithic era to modern times

Release Date: April 5, 2013 This content is archived.

“Part-and-parcel to this embodiment is an inescapable sensual connection between the human body and the non-human things of the world with which we constantly interact. The stage upon which such interactions occur is the landscape. ”
William Meyer, research assistant professor
UB Department of Anthropology

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An important development in social theory is the recognition that all human life is embodied. That is to say, human life gives concrete form to abstract concepts, born in the mind, of all kinds.

“Part-and-parcel to this embodiment,” says archaeologist William Meyer, “is an inescapable sensual connection between the human body and the non-human things of the world with which we constantly interact. The stage upon which such interactions occur is the landscape.”

Meyer, PhD, a post-doctoral scholar and research assistant professor in anthropology at the University at Buffalo, is the organizer of “Landscaping Gender and Engendering Landscape,” the sixth annual Visiting Scholar Conference of the UB Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology (IEMA), which will take place April 13 and 14.

The conference will be held on the ground level of Greiner Hall, on UB’s North Campus and will feature presentations by scholars from the U.S. and Europe whose work is focused on the relationship between gender and landscape.

The conference program, registration, visitor information and a complete list of conference speakers and their topics can be found at:


Meyer says that researchers have found that how we act— and interact — on the landscape stage is influenced by the different categories of identity to which we belong, including sex, gender, age, class, faction, and ethnicity.

“At this conference,” he says, "archaeologists and art, architectural and classical historians will draw on case studies from the Paleolithic to the Modern periods to examine how people of different genders experienced the landscapes of the past and how specific places or elements within those landscapes became gendered,” Meyer says.

 “Just as societies endow different kinds of bodies with specific expectations, rights, and limitations, the speakers will discuss how places on the landscape might be gendered in similar ways,” Meyer says.

Meyer says such intersections of landscape and gender have been explored in archaeology’s sister disciplines but remain relatively unexplored within archaeology itself.

He says, “Where these intersections have been studied, however, points of overlap have provided a much richer sense of life in the past and have revealed complex heterogeneities in the landscapes and societies that we study.”

Additional funding for the conference was provided by the UB Department of Geography, Department of English, Department of Transnational Studies and the UB Gender Institute, which sponsored the travel of speaker Silvia Tomášková, who will present a talk for the institute on April 15 titled, "Science as Community Organizing: The Importance of Mentors"

Another participating scholar, Sandra Montón-Subías of Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona will give a talk on April 16 for the Anthropology Department, titled "Modern Colonialism and the First Globalization through Archaeology: A Spanish Perspective."

Both talks are free and open to the public.

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