Anthropology Connections was established to help further connections between the Department of Anthropology and other Departments on campus with which we share theoretical interests in order to exchange ideas about work in progress, new perspectives on research issues, and potential areas of collaboration.
Schedule of Events:
“Pornography is in the Eye of the Beholder: Sex, Science and the Media in the study of Ice-Age Figurines”
Friday, October 17th, 2014
Time: 6 – 7PM
Location: Behavioral Sciences Building, Rm. 107
The CSU Anthropology Department is proud to present Dr. April Nowell (University of Victoria), who will be giving a talk on Venus figurines.
When the discovery of the Aurignacian Hohle Fels figurine from Germany was announced publicly in June 2009, it was described in both popular media and in academic journals as “pornographic,” a “35,000 year old sex object” and as a “prehistoric pin-up.” But what does “pornographic” mean in an Ice-Age context? This talk examines the role of presentism in the analysis and interpretation of human figures in the visual cultures of the European Upper Paleolithic. It is suggested that interpreting the figurines in a purely sexual context obstructs their objective, scientific study and has unintended social consequences. Following from this, I consider why the Venus hypothesis persists in the popular media and scholarly research despite decades of reflexive critiques. Finally, building on these critiques, I argue for the importance of contextualization in the study of Upper Paleolithic figurines and discuss new approaches to their analysis.