Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present, and Future, edited by Heide Goettner-Abendroth, celebrates women’s largely ignored and/or invisible contribution to culture by exploring matriarchal societies that have existed in the past and that continue to exist today in certain parts of the world. Matriarchal societies, primarily shaped by women, have a non-violent social order in which all living creatures are respected without the exploitation of humans, animals, or nature. They are well-balanced and peaceful societies in which domination is unknown and all beings are treated equally. This book presents these largely misunderstood societies, both past and present, to the wider public, as alternative social and cultural models that promote trust, mutuality, and abundance for all.
Contrary to common belief, which misunderstands matriarchy as “women’s rule,” these societies are based on a tradition of gender equality, negotiate their political decisions through consensus, have intelligent rules to ensure a peaceful life, and are balanced both in regard to gender and with respect to the generations, and which demonstrates an ecologically appropriate way of dealing with all living beings. The example of matriarchal societies can inspire us to find better social and cultural models for the solution of many contemporary problems.
Contributors include, among others: Riane Eisler; Barbara Alice Mann; Peggy Reeves Sanday; Claudia von Werlhoff; Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum; Michael Dames;
Vicki Noble; Susan Gail Carter; Annette Kuhn; Lamu Gatusa; Bernadette Muthien; Fatimata Oualet Halatine; Wilhelmina J. Donkoh. Contributions come from around the world, with several based in the U.S.
This anthology is of interest not only to students and scholars but anyone interested in archaeology or anthropology, cultural and women’s studies, sociology, ethnography, comparative religious studies, mythology, folklore, northern and arctic studies, Native studies, ecocriticism/ecofeminism and feminist theory/body politics.
“This is a powerful life-affirming political book. The feminist theory, vision and practice reported in this volume draws its strength from humanity’s common matriarchal history—uncovered, honoured and analyzed here by women from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Deep personal and academic knowledge of, and reflection on, surviving matriarchal elements in some of the contributors’ own Indigenous cultures and archaeological accounts of lost cultures by others, shape the book’s ambitious and fully realized theoretical and political project. Common principles found in vastly different matriarchal societies across time and space are potent guides in our continuing struggle to recover the humanity and harmony lost to patriarchy not so long ago in the scale of these things. The global dialogues and solidarities among women reflected in this book, as much as its inspiring content, give us hope that this new world is possible.”
—Angela Miles, author of Integrative Feminisms and Professor of Sociology, OISE/University of Toronto, Canada
“Throughout the ages patriarchal capitalism has co-opted human energy and knowledge, in order to control and dominate other human beings—and the natural world. But in today’s twenty-first century reality, the worldview of matriarchy understands all forms of life as being interconnected with each other. Women should rise and reclaim matriarchy for the needs of our present reality, and for future prosperity.”
—Wahu Kaara,Executive Director of Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN), Kenya
“Ground breaking feminist scholarship on matriarchal societies. Urgently needed insights for recreating equality, economic justice, and peace.”
—Linda Christiansen-Ruffman, Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax/Canada
“Societies of Peace: Past, Present, and Future offers a comprehensive study of matriarchal societies. There is a wealth of insightful work in the book from the clarity in Heide Goettner-Abendroth’s article on definitions, and Genevieve Vaughan’s discussion of matriarchal societies as alternatives to market- based societies, and through the historical articles documenting past and present societies and their contributions and issues. From the discussion of Barbara Alice Mann of the Bear Clan of the Ohio Seneca, Iroquois, to Lamu Gatusa of Mosuo, Yunnan of Southwest China, the work is a rich and provocative reading experience. I look forward to the book’s availability in our university library.”
—Sandra Mayo, Director, Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies,Texas State University-San Marcos/U.S.A.
“The diversity and breadth of these papers, many by members of present day matriarchal societies throughout the world, is astonishing and inspiring.”
—Cristina Biaggi, editor of The Rule of Mars: Readings on the Origins, History and Impact of Patriarchy, New York/USA