Feminism & Classics 2020: body/language
FemClas 2020, the eighth quadrennial conference of its kind, takes place on May 21–24, 2020, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the invitation of the Wake Forest University Department of Classics and Department of Philosophy. The conference theme is “body/language,” broadly construed, and papers on all topics related to feminism, Classics, Philosophy, and related fields are welcome.
This conference focuses on the use of the body and/or language to gain, lose, contest, or express power and agency in the ancient Mediterranean world. Bodies and words, at both the physical and the conceptual levels, can exert disproportionate, oppositional, or complementary forces. Both have the power to transform their surrounding environments significantly. Yet there is a problematic dichotomy between body/physicality and language/reason, a problem long noted by philosophers, literary theorists, and social historians. FemClas 2020 seeks to contest, blur, and even eradicate these boundaries through papers, panels, and other programming that promotes interdisciplinary exploration of the ancient world.
We invite contributions that use the lens of bodies, languages, or their intersections to address any aspect of the ancient world, modern encounters with ancient cultures, or the academic practices of Classics, Philosophy, and related fields. Participants might explore how voices engender movement(s) and transform bodies, or how movement(s) in turn can stimulate recognition of unheard or otherwise suppressed voices and lead to change. These can be voices and movements within the ancient world, within the university, or within our modern disciplines. The study of agency, expressed through the problematic body/language dichotomy, addresses critical questions not only in scholarly work but also in the governance, makeup, and power dynamics of our fields, currently and historically. Now, perhaps more than ever, is a critical time for us to consider ourselves as students of bodies past and present, as embodied scholars, and to interrogate the repercussions of body normativity—from race and gender to neurodiversity, dis/ability, and body types—on our work and our profession.