How Women Created the Mississippian World at Moundville, A.D. 1070-1200

Hominy cooking; Dr. Rachel Briggs
Event Description:

Dr. Rachel Briggs is a Teaching Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill and specializes American Indian foodways, gender, and the emergence of complex societies in the Southeastern United States. Dr. Briggs will speak about how archaeologists have traditionally used the apex of Mississippian societies to model the genesis of these socially complex organizations. While Mississippian societies were certainly socially stratified, with elites provisioned with food and other materials, in the light of new research, this “top-down” model overly emphasizes the role of elites and men, while underplaying the importance of commoners and women. In this presentation, she offers a “bottom-up” approach for understanding the genesis of Mississippian societies. Using the ritual-ceremonial center of Moundville as a case study, and by focusing on shifts in cuisine and residence patterns during the Late Woodland and Early Mississippian periods, she argues that it was first changes in the everyday practices of women, and thus the construction of a Mississippian notion of womanhood, that established the Mississippian identity made manifest in the artificial landscape.

If you are not able to attend this lecture in person, it will be live-streamed and available afterward on YouTube. 

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Presented by: Dr. Rachel V Briggs

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