Lambda Classical Caucus
A Coalition of Queer Classicists and Allies


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Call for Papers: Cults and Queer Identities in Classical Antiquity
LCC Panel, American Philological Association, 2008 (Chicago)
Organizer: Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos (Florida Atlantic University) and John P. Wood (University of Missouri-Columbia).

The 2008 LCC panel will explore the interrelation between sexuality and religion in Greek and Roman antiquity. We are soliciting papers that will draw on a variety of sources (as diverse as, for example, poetry, historiography, oratory, philosophy, epigraphy, visual arts, and material culture) to investigate the role of cults and religious practices in general in the formation of queer identities in the classical world, as well as the position that “queer” rites and their practitioners occupied in society and/or ancient discourses of power. For the panel’s purposes, “queer” should be understood broadly, as a term that refers both to same-sex desire or bonding within a certain religious space or group and to a model of masculinity or femininity (e.g., hermaphrodites, worshippers of Artemis or Dionysus, eunuchs, Galli priests, Vestal virgins, etc.) that cannot be fully described by, or contained within, conventional categories of gender in antiquity. We invite submissions that can offer a contextualized and historicized analysis of the subject and discuss how queer elements in ancient cults are deployed in the sources under examination as examples through which popular ethical beliefs and dominant ideology about political systems and social structures in Greece and Rome are validated, (re)defined, or contested.
In addition to the much-discussed relation between the homoerotic and the homosocial, topics to be addressed by individual papers may include:

• How central is the body to the construction of a queer identity within a religious context?
• How do cults that could be heuristically labeled as “queer” reflect or challenge traditional definitions of love, sex, class, or even marriage in antiquity?
• Are time and space important factors for the establishment, reinvention, development, and/or refashioning of such cults?
• To what extent is the description of “queer” religious groups or practices in the texts under consideration subject to the author’s own cultural presuppositions?
• To what extent is such a description influenced by intertextual relations and/or generic norms?
• Do “queer” cults operate openly or as subcultures? In urban spaces or in rural areas? In the metropolis/capital or in the colonies/provinces and the peripheries of the Greek and Roman world?
• In assessing literary representations of “queer” cults and their followers, is it correct to talk about identities or subjectivities?

Abstracts, of one page in length, are due by Friday, February 16, 2007 and will be refereed anonymously. Please follow the APA instructions for the format of individual abstracts that appear in this Program Guide. Submit abstracts, by email (preferred) or as a hard copy (to be received by the above deadline), to Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos, Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991; email:

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