1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing and your overall profession?
- I was born in Venice (Italy) and precisely in Murano, the island of the glass-blowers. I had a classical education and studied Latin and Ancient Greek literatures but I specialized in Anthropology and did a lot of fieldwork from 1973 to 2013 in sub-Saharan African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe); in my long experience I was struck by the amount of physical work that women carry out all over the world while reproducing the human society delivering and raising children. I taught 36 years in the Universities and wrote 14 books (of which 4 in English and 1 in French), and more than one hundred papers published in collective books or in international journals (of which 16 in English and 8 in French).
2) What inspired you to write your book?
- I was inspired by the need to show that if mankind succeeded in dominating the planet, this is due to women who lent their time to men. The occasional source of inspiration was David Graeber’s book “Debt: the last 5000 years” that ignores the role of women during the previous 50,000 years.
3) What message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
- I hope readers will appreciate my effort to explain how humans (Homo sapiens) succeeded in history thanks to the work of women, and hope they will grasp that human success was not due simply to the technological progress, but to an intelligent and efficient mode of articulating of the two main labour forces (male hunting and female gathering) during the 99% of their life on earth.
4) What drew you into this particular subject?
- In 1993 I was engaged in an analysis of the foraging (hunting-gathering) economies and discovered that the work of the gathering women was everywhere less time-consuming and energetically more productive than the work of the hunting men. My analysis was concerning only the contemporary and marginalized foraging societies. My exercise was aimed at finding out the conditions by which human societies enter into a transition from a purely foraging economy to an economy based on agricultural production (cultivation and breeding). At that time, I published a book in Italian on this subject.
5) You go over in great detail many examples and historical references to make your argument, but in your opinion and for readers looking to delve into your book, what is one of the single biggest pieces of evidence or events in our world’s history to you that women are responsible for many of the advancements of human history?
- The time women allowed men to enjoy in order to let them spend the necessary time for dealing with the complex tasks of hunting. This is the most ancient and the most surprising form of financement. Therefore, I agree with the statement that “women financed male dominance”.
6) With so much of our society built upon a male dominant perspective, why do you think women have such a hard time earning the respect and recognition for their contributions to society?
- Failing to acknowledge the role of women, and still trying to keep them in a subordinate status, not to speak about frequent violence against women, is a crime against humanity. Nonetheless, in many countries or regions women are often accomplices with cultural trends that are against their complete equality, which makes it difficult the fight of women even in the most developed countries.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors or researchers out there?
- I hope that the best suggestion is to speak always words of truth in support of humanity.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
- Probably a couple of books are in preparation on my desk: one on my experience as anthropologist, and another one on my birthplace and its history.
About the Author
Mariano Pavanello taught Social Anthropology and Africanistics in the Universities of Pisa and Rome “La Sapienza”, where he was Head of the Department of History, Cultures, and Religions. His extensive experience among the Nzema of Ghana was his main ethnological fieldwork that he concluded with the creation of the “Kwame Nkrumah Museum of the Nzema Culture and History” in the premises of the eighteenth-century Fort Apollonia in Beyin, Ghana. He has published a number of books, including Sistemi umani (1992), Le società acquisitive e i fondamenti razionali dello scambio (1993), Il formicaleone e la rana (2000), Perspectives on African Witchcraft (2017), and La papaye empoisonnée. Essais sur la société Akan des Nzema (2017).
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SSRN at: http://ssrn.com/author=2374528