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On Wed, 9 Jul 1997, don walter wrote:

> I could propose that, when Gimbutas
> began to pull together a range of reports, and to draw generalized
> conclusions which attracted attention from non-specialists (such as one of
> our posters, who "re-members" being a member of a matriarchal society), then
> it became worth the time to examine and comment on the reliability (on the
> basis of ordinary criteria of evidence) of the interpretations made.

Don, I like the spirit of open inquiry in your posts, including this one
that I'm replying to. The above excerpt is taken out of a passage that
primarily discusses what kind of knowing is persuasive for you. The lines
above, however, seem to be saying something else than the rest of the
paragraph, and this confuses me a bit.

You seem to be saying that the heightened critical response to Gimbutas'
work is due to her popularity with nonspecialists. Because she influences
even intuitive knowers as well as other nonspecialists and specialists, it
is understandable that her work would be scrutinized. Have I understood
your meaning so far? Do you go so far as to consider it to be not only
understandable, but also commendable?

If so, then this approach says some interesting things about the
relationship between scholars and popular culture and between academic
feminism and "street" feminism. It's kind of paternalistic, because such
great care is taken to protect nonspecialists from questionable
scholarship if it is feminist, but not if it is sexist. Where was the
"protection" from misogynist ideas when I was a little girl, when I needed
it?

Please note that I am not referring to Gimbutas when I say "questionable
scholarship". And WHO something is questionable to is more important to me
than what is questionable about it. Apparently the interpretation of
goddess figurines as fertility dolls has not been questionable to the
RIGHT people. It is questionable to some scholars, such as Gimbutas, but I
guess she isn't one of the RIGHT ones.


Vashti Braha

        |"I am going into the desert where human beings are free like |
        | lions...Since the rebellion of Lilith, I am the first free  |
        | woman...Thinking of my glorious rebellion, they will say,   |
        | Vashti disdained being a queen that she might be free."     |
                                "The Veil of Vashti" Renee Vivien (1904)

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Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html