women in global perspective
aims to uncover the realities of women's lives, internationally and across time, asking questions about patriarchy and slavery, conquest and aboriginality. About mother-right, goddess veneration, shamanic arts and philosophies of spirit-- and the historical chemistry of their repression. Even more important, their role in resisting oppression.
A global perspective on women’s history offers fresh and diverse conceptions of women's power, as well as of men and gender borders. It overturns stereotypes of race and class, and the structures of domination that hold them up. It digs under the usual story of lords and rulers, looking for hidden strands, and reweaves knowledge from the divided fields of history, archaeology, linguistics and folk tradition.
So we cast a wide arc, looking for patterns and gaps and contradictions which, where vested power interests are at stake, are trigger points for controversy. Some of the flashpoints are neolithic female figurines; women's power; goddess reverence; gender-egalitarian mother-right cultures; patriarchy; witch-hunts; and the rise and fall of empires, with all their doctrines of supremacy and inferiority.
Max Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970 to research and document women's history from an international perspective. She has photographed some 15,000 slides and created 100 slideshows on female power and heritages transhistorically, including Women's Power, Rebel Shamans, Female Rebels and Mavericks, Taming the Female Body, and Racism, History and Lies. (For more titles and descriptions, see the online catalog.)
For nearly 40 years, she has presented hundreds of slide talks at universities, community centers, bookstores, schools, libraries, prisons, galleries, festivals and conferences around North America. Her work bridges the gap between academia and grassroots education. It foregrounds indigenous women passed over by standard histories and highlights female spheres of power retained even in patriarchal societies.
Dashu is known for her expertise on ancient female iconography in world archaeology, goddess traditions, and women shamans. She has also done extensive research on mother-right cultures and the origins of domination. Her critique of Cynthia Eller's The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000) has been influential in opening up space for consideration of egalitarian matrilineages. (“Knocking Down Straw Dolls," republished in Feminist Theology, 13.2 (2005), Sage Publications, UK, pp 185-216)
Female Liberators and Revolutionaries
from the new Women's Power
Her new Women's Power DVD has just been released (March 2008), with screenings around the US, in Britain and Australia. Video clips can be viewed here. Dashu is now working to complete a multi-volume sourcebook on women in European folk religion and the witch hunts.