Max Dashu

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Max Dashu
Born Maxine Hammond
1950 (age 65–66)
West Chicago, Illinois
Residence Richmond, California
Nationality American
Education Harvard University
Occupation Feminist historian, author, artist
Years active 1970—present
Notable work Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700–1100
Partner(s) Nava Mizrahhi

Maxine Hammond (born 1950), known professionally as Max Dashu, is an American feminist historian, author and artist. Her areas of expertise include female iconography, mother-right cultures and the origins of patriarchy.

In 1970, Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives to research and document women's history and to make the full spectrum of women's history and culture visible and accessible.[1][2] The collection includes 15,000 slides and 30,000 digital images.[3][4] Since the early 1970s, Dashu has delivered visual presentations on women's history throughout North America, Europe and Australia.[3]

Dashu is the author of Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700–1100 (2016), the first volume of a planned 16-volume series called Secret History of the Witches.[5]

Early life[edit]

Dashu grew up in West Chicago, Illinois. In 1968, she earned a scholarship to Harvard University, where she began her research in women's history.[6][7] Facing "entrenched resistance" to feminist scholarship, she chose to leave the university to become an independent scholar.[7] After founding the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970, she began presenting on women's history in 1973, sharing slides of her research at feminist bookstores, cafe and women's centers.[1] Dashu's slide presentations offered visual history at a time when lesbian history and art was not easily accessible.[8]

In 1976, Dashu was involved in the Inez García defense committee.[1] In the early 1980s, Dashu worked in the Household Workers' Rights organization,[1] a Union WAGE project established in 1979 for working women.[9][10]



Dashu's decades-long work has focused on women's history around the world, including Europe, Asia and Africa.[3] Areas of focus include women shamans and priestesses, witches and the witch trials, folk religion and pagan European traditions. Her work has cited evidence in support of egalitarian matrilineages, and she authored a critique of Cynthia Eller's The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000). Her article Knocking Down Straw Dolls: A Critique of Cynthia Eller's The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory was reprinted in the journal Feminist Theology in 2005.[3][11][12] Dashu has also published in the 2011 anthology Goddesses in World Culture, edited by Patricia Monaghan.[13]

In 2016, Dashu published Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1100. The work is the first volume of a 16-part series titled Secret History of the Witches.[5] The series explores the cultural history and suppression of women in Europe, spanning 2,000 years. The next volume, under the working title Pythias, Melissae and Pharmakides,[5] will focus on Greece.

Presenting materials from the Suppressed Histories Archives, Dashu has given talks at hundreds of universities, conferences and festivals around the world. In addition to the images and articles[14] available on her website, Dashu also offers online courses on women's history via webcast.[15]

Dashu served as a historical consultant for Donna Deitch's 1975 documentary Woman to Woman and for the San Francisco Women's Building mural in 1994.[1]


Dashu makes feminist paintings, posters[16] and prints.[1] Her art has appeared in Witch Dream Comix (1975), the anthology She Is Everywhere!: An Anthology of Writing in Womanist/Feminist Spirituality (2005),[17] Sinister Wisdom,[18] Daughters of the Moon Tarot, and in books by Judy Grahn, Diane Stein, and Martha Shelley, as well as other feminist, lesbian, and pagan publications.[4][19] She also provided the illustrations for her book Witches and Pagans[20] and uses her own illustrations to recreate incomplete or damaged artifacts shown in her presentations.


From 1980 to 1983, Dashu co-produced the weekly radio program A World Wind with Chana Wilson on KPFA in Berkeley, California.[6] The program featured international women's music, news and culture.[21][22] In 1981, Dashu produced the women's history program Flashes from Our Past.

Select bibliography[edit]



  • Witch Dream Comix (1975)
  • Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1100 (2016)



  • Woman Shaman: The Ancients (2-disc DVD)
  • Women's Power (DVD)[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Love, Barbara J., ed. (2006). "Max Dashu". Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975. University of Illinois Press. p. 108. 
  2. ^ Women Library Workers (1983), volume 8.
  3. ^ a b c d About Max Dashu. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b Max Dashu. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Dashu, Max (2016). Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1100. Richmond, CA: Veleda Press. ISBN 978-0-692-74028-6. 
  6. ^ a b "On campus". The Daily Chronicle. De Kalb, Illinois. 22 March 1988. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Dashu, Max (1 September 2003). "Women's studies beyond academia". off our backs. Vol. 33 no. 9. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Harper, Jorjet (2008). "Lesbian Writers' Conferences: Sharing Words". In Baim, Tracy. Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Movement. Surrey Books. p. 123. ISBN 9781572841000. 
  9. ^ Finding Aid to the Household Workers' Rights Records, 1982-1996 Online Archive of California.
  10. ^ Union WAGE (Organization) Social Networks and Archival Context.
  11. ^ Dashu, Max (2000). "Knocking Down Straw Dolls". Suppressed Histories Archives. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  12. ^ Dashu, Max (January 2005). "Knocking Down Straw Dolls: A Critique of Cynthia Eller's The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory". Feminist Theology. SAGE Publications. 13 (2): 185–216. doi:10.1177/0966735005051947. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  13. ^ Monaghan, Patricia. "Goddesses in World Culture". Patricia Monaghan. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  14. ^ Articles by Max Dashu. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  15. ^ Dashu, Max. "Source Memory: Reweaving the Connections". Source Memory. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  16. ^ Rise Up and Dance! poster. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  17. ^ Williams, Annette Lyn, ed. (2005). She is Everywhere!: An Anthology of Writings in Womanist/feminist Spirituality. iUniverse. 
  18. ^ Sinister Wisdom 73. Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal.
  19. ^ Runa: the Art of Max Dashu. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  20. ^ Laura, Judith (31 August 2016). "REVIEW: Max Dashu's Witches and Pagans". Medusa Coils. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  21. ^ "Monday, Oct. 12th". KPFA Folio. Vol. 33 no. 9. Berkeley, California: KPFA. October 1981. p. 18. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  22. ^ "Alternative Airwaves" (PDF). Coming Up!. San Francisco. March 1982. p. 8. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  23. ^ Women's Power DVD premiere. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.

External links[edit]