Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology 

Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture

By: Chris Knight (Author)

592 pages, b/w photos

Yale University Press

Paperback | Apr 1995 | #224640 | ISBN: 0300063083
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £37.50 $46/€42 approx

About this book

This original and ingenious book presents a new theory of the origins of human culture. Integrating perspectives of evolutionary biology and social anthropology within a Marxist framework, Chris Knight rejects the common assumption that human culture was a modified extension of primate behavior and argues instead that it was the product of an immense social, sexual, and political revolution initiated by women.

 "Chris Knight has drawn widely on classical Marxist theory and structuralism in the Levi-Strauss tradition, as well as on the contemporary offerings from feminism, paleontology and sociobiology, to weld together a grand synthesis on the origins of culture [...] Interestingly, [...] Knight's hypothesis does seem to provide a simple explanation for a number of biological and cultural phenomena that have hitherto been regarded as unrelated."
– Robin Dunbar, Times Higher Education Supplement

"An immense work of documentation and close argument [...] A magnificent work of materialistic science constructed from anthropological field-work and tribal myth."
– Peter Redgrove, Times Literary Supplement

"Chris Knight brings evidence from a wide range of disciplines to take forward the argument for women's initiatory role in human culture and to attempt to answer the question of how men, over time, came to appropriate women's power."
– Camilla Power, Everywoman

"Stimulating, positive and brave [...] [A] unique exploration from biology through archaeology to anthropology."
– Caroline Humphrey, London Review of Books

"An important and stimulating contribution to studies in human cultural origins."

"A book of absorbing interest [...] I can recommend this book for health sociologists and students."
– Agnes Miles, Sociology of Health and Illness


- Anthropology and origins
- Levi-Strauss and "the mind"
- Totemism as exchange
- The sex-strike
- Origins theories in the 1980s
- The problem of the killer ape
- Between blood, stone, and fire
- Solidarity and cycles
- The revolution
- Ice-age rhythms
- The hunter's moon
- The raw and the cooked
- The rule of men
- The dragon within

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