A major interest of Zygon and of organizations that publish our journal is biocultural evolution. Biocultural evolution focuses on the evolution of humanity in the context of the earths environment and the laws of nature. It regards humans as composed of two heritages acting in symbiosis. One is the genetic heritage of the species; the other is the plurality of cultural heritages that have evolved on our planet. The brain or central nervous system is programmed by these two heritages. Genes provide recipes for brain structure and electrochemical functioning. Cultures provide languages with which we think, moral principles and values that help guide our behavior, and social institutions that transmit languages and values from one generation to the next and provide the context for our living.
Early studies of primate social behavior were distorted by observational, methodological, and ideological biases that caused researchers to overlook active roles played by females in the social lives of monkeys. Primatology provides a particularly well documented case illustrating why research programs in the social and natural sciences need multiple studies that enlist researchers from diverse backgrounds.
feminist critiques • primatology • sex roles
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, California 95616.
Gender is a social construct. Technically, it is a grammatical structuring category that may refer to sex, as is typical of lndo-European languages, or to another set of features such as animate versus inanimate, as is typical of Algonkian languages. Gender in language forces speakers of the language to be continually conscious of application of the category, and they tend to project the categorization into their experience of the world and collocate observations under these broad categories. Western science has been developed by speakers of Indo-European languages employing male/female (and sometimes neuter) genders, and in a cultural tradition that at least since the time of Classical Greece has collocated male with active, creative, rational, and public (political)/dominant (Olympian), and female with passive, irrational/emotional, and private (nonpolitical)/subordinate. Religion and science—organons for rendering existential experience intelligible—have always been used by the dominant class as instruments of power, and therefore in Western cultures have been entangled with legitimization of a congeries of concepts collocated with male gender. This paper illustrates the social construction of this congeries by contrasting it with non-Western usages and valuations.
classical Greece • gender • Plains Indians • social categories
Alice B. Kehoe is professor of anthropology, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Body-Vessel-Matrix: Co-creative Images of Synergetic Universe by Nancy Corson Carter
In his essay Goddesses of the Twenty-first Century, R. Buckminster Fullers use of woman and goddess as metaphor suggests a fruitful source of images illuminating synergetic principles. Using five images, clustered as body-vessel-matrix, the article suggests an epistemology and a heuristic for connecting the personal-physical and the universal-metaphysical. These images are (1) the Egyptian goddess Nut, (2) the Greek earth goddesses, (3) Neolithic Maltese goddess temples, (4) the double spiral, and (5) the Apollo Missions Earth photographs. These images are intended as transformational synergetic/ecofeminist figures to replace images of deprivation, alienation, and destruction with images of abundance, intimacy, and co-creation.
body • ecology • R. Buckminster Fuller • Gaia • goddesses and goddess images • synergy
Nancy Corson Carter is associate professor in humanities at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida 33733.
The Status of the Anomaly in the Feminist God-Talk of Rosemary Reuther by George Alfred James
Scripture, the creeds, and tradition have provided the raw material that theology has attempted to refine. The contribution of much recent theology comes from new insight into these materials by women, blacks, and the Third World, often as examined by analytic tools derived from post-Christian ideologies. The theology of Rosemary Ruether stands out because of her choice of sources, among which she includes documents excoriated as heretical by what she calls the patriarchal orthodoxy of the early Christian church. Because of this it is useful to examine this type of theology in relation to other theological inquiries of recent years. The thesis of this paper is that, in her ability to incorporate source material hitherto regarded as heretical, Ruether has demonstrated the scientific character of this kind of theology.
anomalies • feminist theology • Gnosticism • Nag Hammadi • Rosemary Ruether • theology and science
George Alfred James is assistant professor of philosophy and religion at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203.
Six Characteristics of a Postpatriarchal Christianity by Jay McDaniel
Christianity is best understood not as a set of timeless doctrines, but as a historical movement capable of change and growth. In this respect, Christianity is like a science. Heretofore, most instances of Christianity have exhibited certain ways of thinking that, taken as a whole, have led to the subordination of women (and the Earth and animals as well) to men in power. This article describes these ways of thinking, then contrasts six ways of thinking and acting that can inform postpatriarchal Christianity and science.
dualistic thinking • feminist theology • God • nondualistic thinking • postpatriarchal theory • relational power • unilateral power • value-hierarchical thinking • value-pluralistic thinking
Jay McDaniel is director of the Stell Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy and associate professor of religion at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He is also on the Working Committee of the Church and Society Subunit of the World Council of Churches. In addition to feminist theologies, his interests include process theology, interreligious dialogue, theologies of ecology, and relations between religion and science.
Sexuality, Rationality, and Spirituality by Winnifred A. Tomm
Historical progress has largely been described in terms of the power to order social and ecological realities according to the interests of a few. Their concepts, images, and metaphors have transmitted knowledge (both explicit and tacit) that has come to be regarded as received wisdom. This kind of power, which has shaped (as well as described) history, has belonged primarily to men; whereas womens nature and, accordingly, their power have been defined primarily in terms of sexuality. Mens control of womens sexuality is therefore the source of the disqualification of women as free agents—that is, as significant participants in, say, scientific and religious meaning-giving processes. Thus morality requires reevaluation of our assumptions about human nature. Most importantly, it demands that female sexuality be considered within the context of rationality and spirituality.
mitigated relativism • moral agency • power • rationality • sexuality • spirituality
Winnifred A. Tomm is Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Womens Studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2E2.