Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Tom Felton film unearths ‘epic story’ of female archaeologist

He is one of the most recognisable actors in the world, known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise. But now Tom Felton wants to use his platform to spotlight someone whose historical achievements have been obscured for decades.

Felton has produced his first feature film, Canyon Del Muerto, recounting the story of Ann Axtell Morris, one of the US’s first female archaeologists, who worked with the Navajo in the 1920s to uncover North America’s earliest civilisation, the Anasazi.

“It’s an epic story that hasn’t been told before,” Felton said. “Ann Morris was only recently acknowledged as a credible archaeologist, even though she set the tone for the next 100 years of young women having the opportunity to enter the field.”

The film, expected to be released this spring, also stars Felton as Morris’s husband, Earl, who is often cited as the model for George Lucas’s Indiana Jones character. It explores how Morris’s accomplishments were overshadowed by her husband’s fame and prejudices against women.

The film was the first to be granted access to shoot in the sacred and culturally significant landscape of Canyon de Chelly on Navajo tribal lands in Arizona. It has been praised by Jonathan Nez, the president of the Navajo Nation, who called it “an extraordinary showcase of our land, our people and our culture”.

Read more here at The Guardian

Monday, January 2, 2023

Dorothy Pitman Hughes, pioneering feminist who co-founded Ms. Magazine, dies at 84

From NBC News:
Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a pioneering Black feminist, child welfare advocate and activist who co-founded Ms. Magazine with Gloria Steinem, formed a powerful speaking partnership with her and appeared with her in one of the most iconic photos of the feminist movement, has died. She was 84.

Hughes died Dec. 1 in Tampa, Florida, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, said Maurice Sconiers of the Sconiers Funeral Home in Columbus, Georgia. The home said it did not know the cause of death.

Hughes was not as well known as Steinem, but the two forged an important partnership at a time when feminism was viewed as a very white, middle-class movement. Steinem credited Hughes with helping her become comfortable speaking in public.

In one of the most famous photos of the movement, taken in October 1971, the two raised their right arms in the Black Power salute.

Hughes, a pioneering voice in child care, organized the first shelter for battered women in New York City and co-founded the New York City Agency for Child Development.

She met Steinem in 1968, according to a biography on the Ms. Magazine website, when Steinem, then a journalist, was writing a story for New York Magazine about Pitman Hughes’ child care center. From 1969 to 1973, they spoke across the country at college campuses, community centers and other venues on gender and race issues.

Hughes was born Dorothy Jean Ridley on Oct. 2, 1938, in Lumpkin, Georgia, her family wrote in an obituary posted by the funeral home.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Outrage: U.S. Supreme Court Takes Away Federal Constitutional Right to Abortion

The fears of millions were realized today, as the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal constitutional protection of abortion — robbing people of the fundamental right to control their own bodies.

In a decision with devastating consequences, the court overturned Roe v. Wade — throwing out the 1973 decision that recognized abortion as a constitutional right, and handing politicians across the country the power to make decisions about our bodies, our lives, and our futures.

This historic action means the Supreme Court — now dominated by justices hostile to our freedom — is reneging on a constitutional right it previously granted.

Across the Country, Life-changing Implications
With the federal constitutional protection of our right to abortion now ended, states in more than half the country stand poised to ban abortion. That would leave 36 million women of reproductive age, plus even more people who can become pregnant, without access to abortion.

Through this ruling, the Supreme Court will force an unknowable number of people to choose between either traveling hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles for care, or remaining pregnant.

Make no mistake: This decision goes beyond abortion. This wrongful ruling is about power and control. What rights will this court take away next? Who has power over you, who has the authority to make decisions for you, and who can control how your future is going to be? It goes against the will of the American people and overturns nearly 50 years of precedent.
A Shameful Day

We’re outraged — and ready to fight like hell.
Everyone’s body is their own, and theirs alone. You must have the freedom and power to control your body and life. That means no judge, no politician, no ban should ever block your personal medical decisions or set the course for your life. Abortion access should not be based on your ZIP code, income level, or immigration status.

Abortion bans do the most harm in Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities and other communities of color, which already face barriers to health care and economic opportunity because of this country's legacy of systemic racism and discrimination. The court's ruling will add further insult to health disparities that have long plagued too many communities.

We’re Fighting Back
We vow this: The Supreme Court’s shameful decision won’t stop us. We will rebuild and reclaim the freedom that is ours.

It’s already crystal clear that these politicians plan to completely end access to abortion, one state at a time. For decades, narrow-minded politicians have built a coordinated strategy toward this moment. And politicians aim to outlaw abortion across the United States, no matter where you live. Texas and Mississippi are just the opening fronts in a campaign to destroy abortion access across the country.

Generations before ours fought tirelessly to gain and protect our rights. With this ruling, the next generation will have fewer rights — unless we fight on. Every day in every way, all of us must stop at nothing to make sure people have access to the essential health care they need to control their bodies and build their futures.

This is far from over. We have strength in numbers and power in our united voices.

Monday, December 27, 2021

8 powerful female figures of ancient Rome

Women in ancient Rome held very few rights and by law were not considered equal to men, according to a 2018 article on The Great Courses Daily. Roman women rarely held any public office or positions of power, and instead their role was expected to be caring for children and looking after the home.

Most women in Roman society were controlled by either their father or husband. Especially among richer families, women and young girls were married off in order to form political or financial relationships, and rarely could choose their partner.

Despite this lack of rights, there is evidence of a few exceptional women who managed to attain great power and influence in ancient Rome. While some controlled events from the sidelines, others took matters into their own hands, forming conspiracies and even assassination plots to seize control of the Roman empire.

read more here @ Live Science

The woman restoring ancient Chinese makeup

By examining references in ancient books, Wang Yifan, a 29-year-old woman from Northeast China's Liaoning Province, has recovered 39 types of cosmetics and makeup tools from China's different dynasties including a powder used by Wu Zetian, China's only female emperor, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and bath beans, a type of facial cleanser used by the Empress Dowager Cixi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Currently, Wang's recovered cosmetics cannot be sold, they are just for display as they still need further refinement.

read more here @ Global Times

Digs reveal seals of Hittite female administrator in SE Turkey

Archaeologists discovered seals and prints of a female administrator during their archaeological digs in the ancient city of Karkamış in southeastern Turkey’s Gaziantep province.

Karkamış was the most important administrative center in the region of the Hittite Empire, which ruled over Anatolia and Mesopotamia for centuries.

The findings were among dozens of clay seals belonging to the highest officials in a hierarchical order unearthed by an excavation team headed by Nicolo Marchetti, an archaeology professor at the University of Bologna in Italy, according to a statement by the Gaziantep metropolitan municipality.

It was determined that two-thirds of the Anatolian hieroglyphic seal impressions belonged to a female administrator named Matiya from the period defined as the "Late Bronze Age."

The new discoveries are expected to shed light on the role of women in state governance during the Hittite Empire.

Philosophy and sex work: how courtesans in Ancient Greece crossed the mind/body divide

Sex workers in Ancient Greece divided into two somewhat overlapping types. The most common were those who lived in brothels, often enslaved sex workers providing a sanctioned service to the men of the ancient Greek city. The word for this role was porne, from where we get the English word pornography.

Not only did these women lack freedom, but their profession could also be dangerous. Women consigned to this life had no leisure and no expectation of education.

But there was another kind of sex worker who gripped the imagination of writers in the ancient world. These women did not live in brothels, but in their own homes. They granted favours, rather than being bought for a fee, and participated in the language of aristocratic exchange of goods.

They were called “friends”, hetairai in Greek, or, as they came to be known in English, courtesans.

These women were seen as having captivating minds, not just captivating bodies. They could be conversation partners and were allowed unprecedented freedom in the ancient world.

read more here @ The Conversation

Remembering the Remarkable Queens Who Ruled Ancient Nubia

Scholar Solange Ashby is uncovering the once-revered, now little-remembered female leaders of the Kushite kingdoms.

While Egypt’s Cleopatra and Hatshepsut are household names today (by ancient Egyptian standards), few people have heard of Nubia’s mighty queens. Atlas Obscura spoke with Ashby about the Nubian legacy, expressions of female power, and how the study of ancient Nubia connects to Black Lives Matter.

read more here @ Atlas Obscura

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Ludmila, the first Czech saint, grandmother of Wenceslas, martyred 1100 years ago

Saint Ludmila, the first historically documented Duchess of Bohemia, was martyred 1100 years ago this September – strangled by assassins sent by her own daughter in law. Best known today as the grandmother and educator of the Czech patron saint “good King Wenceslas”, Saint Ludmila was among the few women in history to de facto rule over Bohemia.

Princess Ludmila, as she is also known, was the wife of Bořivoj, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Sometime in the late 9th century, he converted to Christianity during a visit to the court of Great Moravia, and was allegedly baptised by none other than Saint Methodius, the Byzantine missionary known along with his brother Cyril as the “Apostles of the Slavs”.

Little is known for certain about Ludmila’s life before the death of her husband, other than that she was the daughter of a Sorbian prince, likely born in Mělník, central Bohemia, married Bořivoj in her teens, and had as many as six children with him.

But, says Dr Jakub Izdný of the Institute of Czech History at Charles University, author of a new book on Ludmila published ahead of the 1100-year anniversary of her death, she is the first historically known Czech woman, and quite likely the first woman to rule Bohemia.

read more here @ Radio Prague International