T H E S C I E N T I F I C S P E C I A L I S T
A R C H E O L O G I S T B R I G I T T E R Ö D E R
O N E O F T H E G O O D G I R L S - G E R M A N `S C Y N T H I A E L L E R
Brigitte Röder, born 1961 in Freiburg, Germany is a German-Suisse prehistorian and professor at the university of Basel. Her main field of research is prehistorian gender- social- and childhood topics, creating of theory, methods and developing an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledges between, social and prehistorian archaeloogy.
According to Dale Spender in her Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them - 1982, a study of women's thoughts and ideas spanning three centuries, men have removed women from literary and historical records and deprived them of the knowledge of their intellectual heritage. The techniques of control work by initially discrediting a woman and helping to remove her from the mainstream; they work by becoming the basis for any future discussion about her; and they work by keeping future generations of women away from her.
The following events in their German intellectual world, will unfortunately display just a far too representative example of that.
Heide Göttner -Abendroth states the bitter fact in her contribution to the anthology I have presented above in this thread: Die Diskriminierung der Matriarchatsforschung: Eine moderne Hexenjagd, 2003, that nowadays the witch hunt isn´t any longer performed by the men who want to stay in power, but has been effectively handled over to the women themselves. In every country and in every little corner of the academic institutions, the task has nowadays been successfully relinquished to be executed by young bold female scavengers of the so called "unscientific"= the pagans to the Wholy Church of Scientism and the unproved dogma of the Universality of Patriarchy. It makes it almost impossible to refute as whatever you do, either you keep quiet, or reply in defence, will count as the proof of your guilt, in the same manner as was taken into account in the 14th and 16th with the water testing of the witches, who were doomed guilty irrespectively of them sinking or not.
If it weren´t so sad regarding our human future depending on our respect for true knowledghe instead of ideology and power games, you would laugh to this wretched spectacle, reminding more of a bad comedy than the serious treatment of science.
G Ö T I N N E N D Ä M M E R U N G = T H E D A W N O F S C I E N C E I T S E L F
Dämmerung in German means "nightfall" and is an appropriate word for the state-financed work of the three young archaeologists Brigitte Röder, Julian Hummel and Birgitta Kunz called Göttinnedämmerung, das Matriarchat aus archäologischer Sicht , 1996, as it ( I suppose quite unconscious though) delineates the kind of dawn of science that they represents themselves , as well as the wellknown fascist manner of "motherblaming" and using Eve The Scapegoat as projection area, for the crimes and errors commited by the actual perpetradors they lack the courage to confront themselves.
Also in the double sense, that only during the protection and inspiration of the Great Goddess, science was created in order to cooperate with Mother Nature sooner than trying to master her, according to the later urgent patriarchal demands in the Genesis of the Bible.
These three young archaeologist student´s bold enterprise to scrutinize the supposed "unscientifics" in the field of modern matriarchal research, is commented by professor Carola Meyer Seethaler, in her contribution to the anthology: Die Discrimination der Matriarchatsforshung: Die systenatische Verunglimpfung der Matriarchatsforschung, (Transl: The systematic Denigration of the Matriarchal research)
Carola Meier-Seethaler initially states that the highly interesting discussion about former alternative nonpatriarchal societies has been characterized by strong ideological undertones revealing the fact that it addresses strong gender-related identity problems. But now, after all, it has been more than 150 years since the discussion began and since then we have gained so much knowledge in the subject. The accumulation of knowledge in ethnology, mythology archaelogy, prehistory, art and symbolism has grown enormously,and it would therefore finally be about time to end the meaningless polemica to instead focus on facts and treat the subject under dignified adequate scientific forms. But today it's simply the opposite perspective prevailing, Carola Meier-Seethaler writes.
From being very successful after the first worldwar, with skilful scholars as Ernst Korneman, Friedrich Heiler, the etnologist Ruth Benedict as well as others referred to by CMS, the further research on the topic by the second wavers in the 70th was evidenly too much of a provocation for the established scholars, who felt attacked in their androcentric worldview. But also young female scholars who seem to be urged by the neurotic tendency of motherblaming have been diligently adopted for this fatal backlash of science as a whole.
A short survey of the "normal" double standards practised in male stream "science" is firstly given, regarding what´s being assessed as true "sience" or not, such as for example the unproved assumptions about universal male domination due to larger muscle masses, strength and aggressive sexuality, also unreflectedly supposed to underlay the arisal the Origin of Society, as well as Freuds highly speculative and farfetched argument that the former mythological elevation of woman merely would have been the pacifying compensation attempt for her actually subordinate position. An argument not much plausible as rulers by nature don´t need to compensate the ruled. But in terms of cultural history its totally useless as well, since the patriarchal religions always have done everything they can to suppress goddesses and feminine cults, although their success never was complete.
And then Carola Meier-Seethaler continues:
My transl: "A culmination point of the accusations of being "unscientific" towards their female opponents, who devote themselves to matricentric cultures, was the 1996 published, state-sponsored publication by three young archaeologists titled Göttinnendämmerung. It argues that archeology can only be based on the material artefacts from specific cultures. For this reason, it must confine itself to technical developments, economic contexts, trade routes, and possibly to signs of social stratification. Conclusions about cultural contexts and of expressions of cultic and spiritual phenomena are not considered possible to draw, without contemporary written sources. And even in the knowledge of written documents, cultural analogies are only possible in a very limited local and temporal context. This, according to the authors, excludes any universal-historical consideration. On the basis of three examples, the allegedly untenable interpretations of matriarchal researchers are criticized; On the female figurines in the Paleolithic and Neolithic findings, as well as on the basis of the excavation sites in Catal Hüyük and Knossos.
First of all is noticeable the downsizing of "lay researchers" such as Marie E.P. König, although the latter received high recognition in France. But also Maria Gimbutas, who possessed an outstanding craftsmanship and scientific knowledge, is handled in a manner that hardly might be considered as to have anything to do with scientific criticism. Her research and interpretation of the female statuettes, models of cult-places, and figures with animal features found in decade-longlasting work of excavations in South-Eastern Europe as a coherent sacral symbolic language is frivolous compared with an "adventure novel. The authors seem to be particularly offended by the fact that Maria Gimbutas used her profound knowledge of prepatriarchal mythology and folklore in her interpretations.
But the perhaps most highly objectionable accusation of them all is the totally unwarrantewd and vicious that Marija Gimbutas would have been leaning against a fascist ideology. An accusation that seem to have been frequently used in Germany as well as the one of being antisemithic just because of the feminist religion historians criticising the patriarchal ideology in the Old Testament of The Bible.
The recognition of her archaeological work by the internationally recognized prehistoric historian Wenceslas Kruta (as well as a long list of other admiring devoters among highle professional scholars presented in the article by Joan Marler: ,my comment) is in sharp contrast. In his 1993 published series of pictures, which is based on his own thirty - year work of excavation as well as on the findings by Maria Gimbutas, he states: "Doubtless you might identify (the naked figurine) with the great, universal Goddess, the nourishing Mother Earth from primordial times, which are frequent in most mythologies ... To this explanation of the female theme there are no meaningfull alternatives."
And thats the way it continues all the way down to the great archaeloogists Meellart and Arthur evans et al. Everyone who could be suspected of committing the crime of heresy against the Wholy Church of Pure Scientism and its fundamental dogma of the Universality of Patriarchy are thrown into the same filthy pot of "unscientific" paganism.
The chapter about Catal Hüyük has got the patronizing, not exactly respectful title: "Wie die ersten Bäuerinnen ihre Männer aus dem Sumpf der Wildheit zogen" (Transl: "How the first female farmers pulled their men out of the morass of Wildness")
M E T H O D S U S E D I N T H E M O D E R N W I T C H H U N T
1. Constructing a strawdoll, made up by a phantasy of the existence of an undifferentiated bunch of so called "matriarchalists", all of them belonging to the same stupid herd of supposed "nonscientific" "amateuers" / bimbos, nurturing the delusion made up by grand old Bachofen & Morgan of a glorious matriarchal prehistoric past, with women dominating men in the same way as men always have been dominating women in patriarchial societies.
2. Projecting their own low assessment of traditional "female" features in life, such as nurturing, caretaking, egalitarian mutuality and giftgiving on the matriarchalists accusing them of promoting "essentialism" and "sexism" as well as of "fascism", due to their own fascist carriage in their contempt for these values, and therefore consequrentially projecting also their own firm belief, that women would never be able to create higher civilisations but only "primitive" ones, sticking themselves to the unilineal evolution model pursued by the anthropologists of the 19th century; i.e. Bachofen & Morgan et al.
3. All means are allowed, also the totally unscientifical ones without the slightest hint of an inherent logic. The fact, that this totally contradict the supposed "naive dreams" promoted by the "matriarchalists" of a glorious matriarchal past of more peacefully and sprititually advanced cultures, than the latter patriarchal ones, built on violence, don´t seem to bother these modern witch hunters in the honour of "science" more than the lack of inherent logic bothered the witchhunters in the 14th and 15th centuries in their sinking test, wich doomend the witches guilty irrespecive of its making the witches sink or not.
4. Projecting their own lack of methodological / theoretical skill and prowess on the "matriarchalists" instead of directing their dissatisfaction with the many deficits in their education that they are complaining about, not at least regarding the gender aspects, towards those who are in charge of the designation of their educations; i. e. their own superordinate colleges; the scholars in the established disciplines of archaelogy, anthropology and religion historian.
As the attacks are built on the same low ignoble principles as the ones used by Cynthia Eller , Katarina Leppanen, Stefanie Knauss et al, not even observing the most basic principles in science; Such as telling the truth and making correct quotations, one would prefer to neglect it, not to bother at all, especially as the reasonings and thoughts expressed are so embarassingly primitive and badly underpinned with scientific rigour.
But as media´s coverage, as well as the scientific community itself, tightly joined by the people administering the articles in Wikipedia (90% men) and other encyclopaedias don´t do their job, but quite the contrary might be suspected of backstage encouraging these younger generation of women to steadily continue their witch hunt, you cannot just ignore what´s going on, but take your precious time into account to reveal what´s hiding behind a word of honour such as "science" which you never would have expected.
T H E R E W A R D I N G F I G H T A G A I N S T S T R A W - D O L L S
I am not sure of whether Brigitte Roder is as consciously delusional as Cynthia Eller, whom it doesn´t even embarass to admit in public, that she rather joins the bullies, than sticks to true science together with the loosers of "matriarchalists" (her term), or if she is just more of a naive and extremely authoritatively dependant schoolgirl believing every word of her teachers, as if they were God himself.
In any case, there is hardly any doubt that her Pallas Athena´s / Sancho Panza´s battle against the dragon, as well as the one of Cynthia Eller, has been extremely successfully rewarded with both great fame, professor´s chairs and positive reviews of their publications in media; as well as being rendered the rank of "scientific authority" representing "consensus" within established science, unlike the so-called "matriarchalists" whom they are supposed to critisise, although its evident that they never were in the neighborhood of their books.
It's not a particularly worthy struggle to win over strawdolls you have manufactured yourself, but as already mentioned above, it has turned out to be an extremely winning concept if these strawdolls consist of so-called "matriarchalists".
Already in 90´s when matriarchal researchers such as Heide Göttner Abendroth and Peggy Reeves Sanday had worked out the only scientific framework that ever existed on the topic, with working hypothesis and definitions elutriated by inductive methods, plus the carrying out of field work and so forth, and Brigitte Röder still was a student, she didn´t hesitate to plunge into the game from her own extremely narrow-minded reductionist scientistic archaeological perspective, in the suggested ambition to scrutinize the scientific rigour of her older and far more experienced and interdisciplinary multifaceted colleagues' scientific works.
It´s nothing wrong being young and full of energy, challenging the authorities, but could even be considered as necessary from times to time. But the very odd thing about Brigitte Röder is that she does that from a position in which she herself lowdly regrets her inadequate education, complaining over the great losses in the discipline of archaeology, which she however, strangely enough, doesn´t seem to realise is her own responsibility to resolve, instead of attacking the brave elderly women who already have done that, only for to face the fact that there are no room for them in the academic hegemonies, but having to finance their research on their own.
M O T H E R B L A M I N G A S A S H O R T C U T T O A C A D E M I C C A R E E R
In this little very interesting anthology, already presented on the first page in this thread; Male Stream "Science" you might learn everything about the things I have touched above: Die Diskriminierung der Matriarchatsforschung: Eine moderne Hexenjagd, 2003, with articles written by the German Scholars Claudia von Werlhof, Carola Meier Seethaler, Christa Mulack, Claudia von Werlhof, and Heide Göttner Abendroth, analysing the way their attackers perform their hunt. Its a virtual reality check, I highly can recommend, and is commented by one of the reviewers at Amazon as follows, and I quite agree on this:
Von Angela Urbschat am 27. Februar 2006
The reviewer of the book “Die Diskriminierung der Matriarchatsforschung"; Angela Von Urbschat, writes that it has been of great help to her in order to get a deeper understanding of what earlier have been shrouded in secrecy. -In most of it´s articles, she writes, there is an elucidating survey over the controversy, which to a certain degree has been prevailing under secluded and unrevealed circumstances, and perhaps not even is possible to perform in public light without the well established, well-known and / or alleged “progressive” scientists disgracing their opponents down to their bones
-The bigotry of those who defend the traditionally established way of carrying out research in, from each other strict separated disciplines, is obvious.
-By reading this book the suspicion struck me again and again that many of these scientists must have become blind from ehrgeiz and the desire of wielding power.
-A worldwide fundament of power politics is made visible in it; men as well as far to many women are afraid of people who understand to live their lives according to their autonomous willpower and without plots, power play and war.
in her article:
Die Matriarchatsforschung in der Diskussion - eine Verteidigung
In this article Christa Mulack thoroughly scrutinizes the alleged "scientific" grapple the three authors of the 450 pages long work of Göttinnendämmerung claim to represent themselves in their disqualifications of a long list of the most skilful and recognized archaelogists and other highly recognised scholars of the world. And the more the critique of Mulack unfold, the more the picture of such a complete simple-minded reductionist scientists appear, and so badly prepared for a professional academic discussion about qualitative humane and socio-cultural issues, that they appear to be as more of some kind of grammar school pupils than grown up academics.
As for example in Brigitte Röders case she doesn´t even notice the fact that she refutes the research about matriarchy, from the narrow-minded scientistic tradition in the discipline of archaeology, that she herself regrets being totally inadequate for that purpose. Its so weird its hard to believe its actually being true in an academical context like this. But after Cynthia Eller nothing surprises you any longer.
First she is claiming for her own part “…den matriarchal Funden und Siedlungen wissenschaftlisch auf den Zahn zu fühlen”
(my transl; she will thoroughly investigate the scientific significance of the matriarchal findings and settlements).
On the “matriarchalists” behalf though, she presumes “…ihren visionären Blick auf diese `Beweise´ … von keiner Überlegungen über die spezifische Aussagefähigkeit der archäologischen Quellen trüben ( p. 184) und pflegten statdessen “´…die Sehnsucht nach einer utopischen Vergangenheit” (Röder 194)
(My transl: she presumes the matriarchalists not being able to distinguish between scientific proves, from their own visionary speculations, and will reveal their tendency to obscure facts due to their longing fro an utopian past)
But although the authors being three of them writing this book, consisting of 450 pages there is none of them delivering ONE single counter evidence to the findings made in the field of modern matriarchal science.
As Mulack states, it is sooner their own highly inadequate reductionist approach refuting everything that might supersede its self-imposed narrowness, than any kind of “scientific” enlightment that´s promoted here. Furthermore the young authors don´t even seem to realise the necessity of a critical approach to patriarchy and male stream biasfor to pursue research in the field of modern matriarchal studies, in order to be able to transcend its ideological limits. Neither they seem to be aquainted with fundamental basics in philosophy of science and metodology, of male stream bias consituting our overall world view, as well as being ingrained in our view upon science and actively obscuring any kind of concurring paradigm.
After this little initial inquiry, Mulack states that it wouldn´t make sense continuing the dialogue if it weren´t for the fact that the authors themselves are making complaints about the reductive limitations of their discipline of archaeology. But as said before they don´t seem to realise this problem being more or less their own responsibility to resolve.
R Ö D E R E T . A L . D I S Q U A L I F Y I N G T H E M S E L V E S
But neither the young authors seem to be able to realise what kind of limiting consequenses will come out of their viewing the content-related problems of the field of archaelogical research as follows“…die Archälogie zwar bestimmte Detailfragen beantworten (kann), etwa in welche Richtung der Ocker auf der Reibtabel zerrieben wurde, und Wandfarbe anzuführen, doch …ihr Wissen in den Augenblick (endet), wo sich die Hand des Künstlerns sum Mahlen hebt.”
(My trans; … the archaeology might answer certain detail-related questions, such as; in what direction the ochre has been grinded on the “Riebtafel” and how to mix the colours for the wallpaintings… but the knowledge stops at the moment when the hand of the artist is raised for to paint.)
Thus they somehow remind of children who want to keep their cakes untouched, at the same time as eating them up.
Furthermore they admit that “…die wenigstens Ergebnisse archäologischer Forschung … über den Rang plausible Interpretation hinauskommen” (p. 374)of which meaning I am unsure, but guess it is suggesting some kind of totalrelativistic carriage to the problem of interpretation of the type; “any kind of interpretation is as good as any other one”. And that is “…eines der grössten Probleme der Archäologe …, dass sie selbst bis heute keinen Schlüssel zur Gedankenwelt vergangener Gesellshaften in den Hand hat” p. 374).
(My trans; And that´s one of the greatest problems in the discipline of archaeology, that it doesn´t in itself has any key to the worldview in the mind of the humans from the past.)
Therafter they make complaints about “the methodological uncertainty” with which the feminist archaeologists for more than a decade have been occupied to attempt to solve: “Die Ur- und Frühgeschichtswissenshaft in Deutschland formuliert nicht die Theorien, nach denen sie vorgeht. Unsere Ausbildung ist ein Learning by doing. Theory wird niemals gelehrt und auch nicht diskutiert. Auch gibt es in der Forschung keine Theorie über Frauen und Männer. Infolgedessen werden in der Ur-und Fühgeschichtsforschung genau jene Geschlechterrollen zugrundegelegt, denen wir heutzutage begegnen (und selbst dieser in idealisierter form). (Reader 1991, Anhang S.3)
(My transl; The science of primordial and ancient history is in Germany never formulated in the theories in which it is thought to unfold itself. Our education is a `learning by doing´. Theory is never taught or even discussed. Furthermore there are no theories in the research about women and men, and therefore its the gender roles from our contemporary cultures of today that´s constituting the ideological foundation to the interpretations of them from our prehistory.
Even Röder, Kunz und Hummel are thus criticising the one-sided androcentric perspective of their own archaeologic discipline; “Der mann als Macher der Geschichte ist ein Topos der archäologischer Fackhliteratur (Röder p 141) der Normalfall ist jedoch “dass Frauen überhaupt kein Thema sind” (p.144).
(My transl: The man as the creator of history is a Topos in the archaeological specialist literature. (Röder p 141) The normal trend is anyhow that women doesn´t make up a theme at all.)
As Röder herself complains:”…nie der Versuch unternommen eine Methodik zu entwickeln um das Matriarchat als Ganzes oder Teilaspekten an eben jenen archäologischen Quellen zu nachzuweisen.” (p.128)
(My transl: ...never has made any attempt to develop a methodology to prove entire or partly aspects of matriarchy according to the archaeological sources)
And that, as Mulack states, although it was frequently reported of motherright phenomena as late as in the Antique.
No wonder thus, that "die meisten UrgeschichtlerInnen das Matriarchat möglichst grossräumig umgehen" (Röder p.145)
(my transl: ..most prehistorians circumvents the topic of matriarchy as much as possible)
The archaeological material isn´t either an easy match to tackle as it "ist in der Tat lediglich in sehr geringem Masse selbstevident. Daher muss die wissenschaftliche Deutung zwangsläufig auf eine sehr niedrigen Ebene einsetzen."(155)
My transl."as it (the material) to a very low degree could be considered to be selfevident, the scientific interpretations must be kept at a very low level. The "spiritual superstructure" is therefore of no interest to the authors, but has to be omitted from the investigations. Thus they consequently haven´t got any kind of education in humane disciplines, which has been obvious to everyone but themselves so far.
On this weak backdrop regarding the scientific standards the question of competence and legitimicy for making such a far-reaching critique of the research of matriarchy becomes urgent. Not to talk about the author´s seemingly total lack of awareness about the need of problematising ones own preconceptions.
Wich once again becomes evident in the last lines in the book:
"Bis zur erfindiung eine Zeitmasdchine (...) wird es ein Rätsel bleiben, ob es das Matriarchat in der Vergangenheit jemals gegeben hat. In unserer Zeit wird sich der Mythos vom Matriarchat vermutlich erst totlaufen, wenn die Konflikte und Hoffnungen, die er verkörpert, gelöst bzw. erfüllt sein werden. Da wir davon wohl noch weit entfernt sind, ist zu überlegen, ob dieser Mythos uns auf dem Weg dahin unterstützt oder eher be3hindert, ob wir ihn ubeerhaupt brauchen.(381)
(My transl: Until there is invented a time mashine (...) it will remain an enigma if there ever has been a matriarchy in the past. In our time the myth of matriarchy will propably not disappear until the conflicts and hopes we embody are solved resp. fullfilled. As we probably are far from there yet, one would have to consider, if the myth will be of any help or perhaps sooner an obstacle and if we might need it at all.)
After 450 pages and three authors it becomes at last clear that the enormous endeavours never was about science, but simply subjective needs, which has served as decision makers for what branch in the field of research to choose.
Because this is what stays firm in the author´s minds:
"Wir brauchen doch keine dubiose Epoche weiblicher Dominanz in den Urgeschichte oder in Übersee, um hier und heute Gleichberechtigigung, die Beendigung der Frauendiskriminierung oder ein selbstbestimmtes Leben erwarten und fordern zu können"
"Now at last it becomes clear that the archaelogists in the succession of their colleagues aren´t interested in the question of matriarchy at all and consequently lack the capacity to develop any kind of research in the matter." Christa Mulack writes. "Understandably though is their wish, that according to their opinion " the rigid fixation many women display at the question of matriarchy would be vanquished and thereby room for other questioning would be left open".
To this one might ask why the researchers in the field of matriarchal studies might not be considered to be driven by the same forces as everyone else devoting themselves to research; namely by curiousity and longing for knowledge for its own sake. Why aren´t historians in common asked to consider if there work really is needed as we would be capable of creating a better future without necessary knowing anything about our past?
Besides - why aren´t the same questions asked when male stream scholars claim the ground of the origin of society being laid by male dominans inherited from the chimpanzees and the fundamental pilar of civilisation is war?
"Such a carriage brings at once forth two questions", Christa Mulack writes:
Firstly; How could it be possible, that three women author a book about the subject: Das Matriarchat aus archaelogischer Sicht (My transl: Matriarchy from the Perspective of Archaelogy) when it doesn´t even interest themselves and they wish no other women to nurture such an interest either?
Secondly: How could it be possible that the authors at the one hand are stating that in archaelogical its only possible to find: "was der Interpreten oder der Interpretin bekannt ist" (My transl: that, what is already known to the interpreters) (168) without, at the other hand, draw the reversal conclusion, that nothing can be found that not is known and in which the researcher not even has invested any interest?
It´s hard to accept, that in times like ours, when science is more important then ever for us to lean on when creating a more peaceful, secure and sustainable future for coming generations - its used for carrying out censorship sooner than promoting access to real knowledge.
Why should we pay nonsence like this with our taxes?
Because - believe it or not; that´s what we are doing also here in Sweden, as we even here have got our own Cynthia Eller. I will return to her later.