Leaving the Blanks Unfilled: a case study in productive ambiguity from Early Bronze Age Lebanon

Author(s): Alison Damick

Year: 2017


An oft-heard sentiment in prehistoric archaeology, particularly for contexts without traditionally visible indicators of gender (i.e., bodies or identifiable representations of bodies), is that "the evidence just isn’t there" to productively introduce intersectional gender research. This is partly due to the trend-sensitivity of archaeology, which often draws from other disciplines to supplement its own scope. Intersectionality is used in the same way, as archaeologists attempt to reframe their practice and interpretation with intersectional approaches derived from critical theory. Disrupting preconceived assumptions about identity categories is undoubtedly imperative and powerful; this paper, however, interrogates whether we might see archaeology as itself offering important tools for this process, and what opportunities those tools present for broadening intersectional thinking. Perhaps in cases where the ‘evidence’ seems to be ‘missing,’ we can rather see invitations to think otherwise about the constitution of evidentiary categories. What happens when, instead of seeking markers of what a body is, we instead interrogate the ‘absences’ through which embodied identities are continuously in production? Rather than stressing its limitations, this paper investigates what is introduced by ambiguous and contradictory evidence, by examining the (sometimes ‘absent’) archaeological evidence for changing social differentiation in Early Bronze Age Lebanon.

Cite this Record

Leaving the Blanks Unfilled: a case study in productive ambiguity from Early Bronze Age Lebanon. Alison Damick. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431960)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17299