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Deployed as a synonym for race, the traditional demarcator for difference in US society, and ethnicity, the sophisticated multifarious variant of "race," "culture" functions in this discourse as a referential demarcator measuring the distance these Others stand in relation to the Caucasian mainstream, inscribed in its turn as the "culture-free" norm.
Having struck a sufficient number of observers, and not readily excludable on the basis of small size, depiction of the mundane, or ordinariness of stonework, this temple site rapidly became a demarcator of the canon, and, indeed, a paradigm of cultural achievement.
Around it has swirled much subsequent work, multilayered in argument, about the degree to which women's voices and experiences were distinctive and may be detected as such, making gender thus a demarcator in medieval religion, also the measure to which women were more closely associated in cultural perception (and perhaps religious practice) with body than spirit.