Connor Hayes speaks with Dr Camilla Power, honorary research fellow in anthropology at UCL, about her work on the origins of human culture and consciousness as emerging from women’s practice of sex strikes and rituals around menstruation. Topics discussed include the evolutionary biology behind this theory, the image of hunter-gatherer society that emerges from this view, her fieldwork with hunter-gatherers in Africa, the historical emergence of patriarchy, Abdullah Ocalan’s writings on Neolithic society and the origins of patriarchy, the method of jineoloji and the Kurdish women’s movement.

Camilla Power is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Dept of Anthropology at UCL, and was Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of East London. She completed her Ph.D. in 2001 at UCL under supervision of Leslie Aiello. Camilla has published many articles on the evolutionary origins of ritual, gender and the use of cosmetics in African initiation, and did fieldwork with Hadzabe hunter-gatherer women. Current research interests include the origins of religion, the Neanderthal symbolic revolution, grandmothers and cooperative breeding, and Hadza women’s ritual. Her teaching ranges across evolutionary anthropology, kinship and African cosmology. She is also a friend of the Kurdish movement, having travelled to Rojava and engaged the Kurdish movement in discussion about her work on gender and human origins.

Connor Hayes is an activist, researcher, and a student of philosophy. He was a member of the 2019 International Peace Delegation to Imrali.

For more resources, see the following:

Radical Anthropology Group (RAG): http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/

Camilla Power – Did gender egalitarianism make us human?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvDu7kUfzaA

Power, Camilla. Jineology – science of women, science of revolution: https://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/jineology-science-of-women-science-of-revolution-2/

Power, Camilla. Gender egalitarianism made us human: patriarchy was too little, too late: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/gender-egalitarianism-made-us-human-patriarchy-was-too-little-too-late/

Power, Camilla. Gender egalitarianism made us human: the ‘feminist turn’ in human origins: https://3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2018/10/gender-egalitarianism-made-us-human-the-feminist-turn-in-human-origins.html

Power, Camilla. If the body isn’t sacred, nothing is: why menstrual taboos matter: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/11/if-the-body-isnt-sacred-nothing-is-why-menstrual-taboos-matter

Knight, Chris. Blood Relations: Menstruation and the origins of culture: https://libcom.org/history/blood-relations-menstruation-origins-culture

See more papers from Camilla Power here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Camilla-Power

This interview is sponsored by the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign (https://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/) and the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (http://www.campacc.org.uk/).

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