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Finding Difference in Emotional Communities: New Feminisms of Women's Lives in the Nineteenth Century CE and Sixth Millennium BCE

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JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2022
Number of pages15
Original languageEnglish


This paper explores notions of relationality and emotional communities to re-tell accounts of women's lives in the nineteenth century CE and second half of the sixth millennium BCE, within the framework of posthumanist feminism. We argue that in both of these contexts women's work, spaces and material cultures have been devalued in comparison with those categorized as masculine. To counter androcentric accounts, we consider how different tasks and forms of material culture can create ‘emotional communities’ among groups, forming shared participation in social worlds. Our focus is first the mourning cultures of the Victorian period in the UK, where we argue objects of emotion may have operated to create shared spaces outside of the home, breaking down oppositions of domestic and private. Second, we turn to the ways in which tasks considered female have been downplayed in the Neolithic of central Europe, exploring the assemblages of bodies, grinding stones and hide working to show how emotional currents may have flowed through these materials, creating experiences of aging and different forms of prestige. In conclusion, we argue that the concept of emotional communities provides a useful methodology to answer the challenge set by posthumanist feminism of thinking difference as positive.

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© The Author(s), 2022

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