Lambda Classical Caucus
A Coalition of Queer Classicists and Allies


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Call for Papers:
Slavery and Sexuality in Antiquity
LCC Panel, 2018 SCS Boston

Organizers:  Deborah Kamen, University of Washington
C. W. Marshall, University of British Columbia.

The Lambda Classical Caucus invites papers that explore the intersection of slavery and sexuality in the ancient world. While the past twenty years have seen ground-breaking scholarship in the fields of Greek and Roman prostitution (see, e.g., Davidson, McGinn, Glazebrook, Cohen), we are interested in broadening the area of study to document more fully the role of sex in the lives of slaves who were not prostitutes and to consider the various ways in which sexuality and slavery were interconnected in the minds of the ancients. Ultimately, we hope to add a new dimension to our understanding of the practices and conceptions of ancient sexuality more broadly.

Papers of no more than 20 minutes might approach the subject from a number of different angles, including, but not limited to, the following:

• To what extent were slaves sexually abused by their masters (or protected from sexual abuse)?
• What do our sources reveal about sexual relationships between slaves?
• To what extent were same-sex relations between free and slave idealized?
• How do sex and sexuality relate to a slave’s chances of manumission?
• To what degree were slaves viewed as fetish items, voyeurs, or sexual tools?
• Can slaves be thought of as sexual subjects, as well as sexual objects?
• Are modern terms like ‘sex trafficking’ and ‘sexual labor’ useful for talking about ancient slavery?
• How can cultural theory, and in particular queer theory, help us think through the power relations inherent in master-slave sexual relations?
• How is ancient slave sexuality presented in modern discourses of sexuality?

All approaches to the topic (e.g. literary, archaeological, historical, art-historical, philosophical) are welcome and encouraged.

Please email abstracts to Prof. Ruby Blondell (, not to the panel organizers, by March 1, 2017. Guidelines for individual abstracts can be found here: Submissions will be blind refereed, so please do not identify yourself anywhere in the abstract.

Please send technical questions, suggestions, or other feedback to the wesite coordinator.