CFP: The Reception of Rome and the Construction of Western Homosexual Identities

Seen on the Classicists list:

The Reception of Rome and the Construction of Western Homosexual
Call for Papers

An international conference to be held at Durham University, 17th-18th
April 2012, under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of the
Classical Tradition.

Confirmed speakers include: David Halperin (U Michigan), Ralph J. Hexter
(University of California), Caroline Vout (Cambridge), Craig Williams
(Brooklyn, CUNY).

This conference will analyse the importance of ancient Rome in
constructing Western homosexual identities. Much scholarship exists on
the contribution of ancient Greek culture and literature to discourses
of homosexuality, but the originary contribution of Rome has been
overlooked. It matters, however, not least because of its impact and
presence during the ‘Latin Middle Ages’ and beyond. Latin literature
provides the best known versions of homosexual myths such as Orpheus,
Narcissus, Iphis and Ianthe (collected in that mythological compendium,
Ovid’s Metamorphoses) and explores distinctively Roman homosexual
relationships (for instance, Virgil’s Nisus and Euryalus), to which a
multitude of later artists have responded. Conversely, authors such as
Juvenal and Martia censure homosexual behaviour. There have also been
many influential instances of homosexuality from Roman history, from
allegations that the youthful Julius Caesar was the ‘queen of Bithynia’
to the celebrated relationship between the emperor Hadrian and Antinous.

This one-off international conference aims to bring together scholars
working in a range of fields (Classics, Reception Studies, Queer
Studies, Modern Languages, Comparative Literature, Art History) to
assess the broad impact of Roman culture on the construction of Western
homosexual identities. Exploring this previously neglected area will
afford scholarship a better understanding of the ways in which the
reception of Roman and Greek culture are different and the importance of
Rome as a model for later artists with homosexual leanings and,
conversely, the attempted erasure of Roman homosexuality in societies
where Rome is idealised. It is hoped that a wide variety of media,
approaches, and research interests will be represented, particularly
from those working outside the discipline of Classics, and that
contributions will result in a substantial publication.

Proposals for papers of 30 minutes should include a title and an
abstract of no more than 500 words, and should be received by 20 May
2011; submissions from postgraduate students are particularly welcome.

Proposals for papers and further enquiries should be sent to Dr Jennifer
Ingleheart (jennifer.ingleheart AT, Department of Classics
and Ancient History, 38 North Bailey, Durham University, Durham, UNITED

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