Hard to know how to categorize this one, it covers the history of science and thought as well as politics. I heard of the guy at, of all places, an Ani DiFranco concert. I’ve never heard of this, but he is not exactly fringe. His central theme, which comes around the half hour mark, is that the invention of the alphabet gave a lot of power to those who could used it, and it used the more masculine, linear thinking parts of our brain and this coincides with the rise of male monotheism and misogyny and the destruction of image oriented goddess culture. Sounds a little wacky, I know, but he supports it in the talk and his 486 page book. I have not yet found a scathing negative peer review.
A couple examples, Sparta has no writing, Athens has a lot. Sparta had women in sports, the military and they owned land. Socrates preferred verbal debate, then Plato started writing and by time we get to Aristotle, he’s putting women down. Or, Europe came out of the Dark Ages with images of Mary everywhere, nuns had some power, Troubadours honored them. Then Gutenberg got everyone reading the New Testament and the Protestants were destroying those images. Not only that, for the first time in history, neighbors killed neighbors over differences in interpretation of what they read. This was not tribal warfare where you killed the women of the people over the hill, this was calling your wife a heretic and burning her at the stake. This has always been a difficult phenomenon to explain.
The good news, photography, TV and PCs are bringing back the visual thinking and we are seeing the rise of women’s rights. Check out the montage of famous images around minute 48, and note how each has changed the world. Compare that to Dostoyevsky or some other tome written by a man.