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About the Author

Elizabeth Wayland Barber is the author of six books, including Women's Work The First 20,000 Years and The Mummies of rmchi. A professor emerita at Occidental College and a research associate at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, she also teaches and choreographs for Occidental's Folk and mostrar mais Historical Dance Troupe, which she founded in 1971. mostrar menos
Image credit: Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Obras por Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum

Outros nomes
Barber, E. J. W.
Data de nascimento
Locais de residência
Los Angeles, California, USA
Yale University (PhD|Linguistics|1968)
Bryn Mawr College (BA|Archaeology|1963)
scholar of textiles
college professor
Occidental College
American Costume Society
Prémios e menções honrosas
Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities, US & Canada
Millia Davenport Publication Award (2000)
Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award, Westridge, School
Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award

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Elizabeth is professor emerita at Occidental College and author of several books, including the award-winning, Women’s Work: The First 20,00 Years, named one of the “100 Best Science Books of the Century” by Sigma Xi and her most recent, When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth. She is the pre-eminent authority on prehistoric textiles and acclaimed in the fields of linguistics and archeology. “Betchen,” as she is known, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Archeology and Greek from Bryn Mawr College and her doctorate in Linguistics from Yale University.




The author has done a fabulous job of making her subject interesting (I had to keep reminding myself that I really don't need a new hobby). The title was a little misleading: it's more about the creation of cloth, and the basics of clothing people with women, their other work, and how they interact with society secondary. I'm more interested in the latter than the former; the author did a good job of making me forget that when I was reading.

This was less about sewing, embroidery, etc, and more about spinning and weaving, with regular side trips in the materials used and how to prepare them to create thread and rope.

A book to keep in mind when discussing, or looking into, how women fit into society. I highly recommend it.
… (mais)
crankybookwyrm | 27 outras críticas | Nov 28, 2023 |
In contemporary western society, fiber arts are practiced mostly by women. And, it turns out, that’s the way it’s been for thousands of years. But crafts like spinning and weaving were more than just hobbies. Textiles were integral to the economy as far back as paleolithic times. In this book, Elizabeth Wayland Barber describes why women came to be responsible for making cloth. Then she describes the various types of cloth, production methods, and end uses from the invention of string and sewing over 20,000 years ago, up to Classical Greece around 500 BCE.

Because textiles naturally degrade over time, researchers cannot rely solely on archaeological evidence. Barber found several other avenues of inquiry which she used to develop a picture of these early societies. For example, she obtained a great deal of insight from studying early language. If language included a word for cloth or a garment, then that item must have existed even if no physical remains have been found. The geographic scope is limited to what is now Europe and the Middle East, not because these were the only societies producing cloth, but for practical reasons: a broader scope would have made for a larger and possibly less accessible book.

I appreciated the way this book not only outlined the evolution of fiber arts, but validated the role of women and their contributions to society.
… (mais)
lauralkeet | 27 outras críticas | Feb 22, 2023 |
Extremely interesting book. Tells the history of textiles and women's place in their production. Interesting things such as the fact that women have always been the main spinners of thread because it is a job that can be dropped quickly to take care of a burning pot or crying child, unlike say blacksmithing.
Luziadovalongo | 27 outras críticas | Jul 14, 2022 |



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