2017-2018

2017, October 17
Natalia Tsoumpra (Glasgow University), "The curious case of female sexuality in classical Athens: religion, medicine and magic"     

This paper will discuss the complex image of female sexuality in classical Athens as it emerges from both literary and material sources. In a male-dominated society, marriage and motherhood were perceived as the fulfilment of the ‘female role’, and women were prepared from an early age for their future positions as wives and mothers through their participation in (coming-of-age) girls’ rituals. Paradoxically, while women’s closeness to the natural world and the basic biological processes of nature, such as motherhood and reproduction, were celebrated by the polis, since they were integral to the stability and continuation of the civic structure, at the same time they were perceived as a potential threat to it. Medical and magical traditions which developed side by side in mutual influence variously interpreted the womb as a mechanically defective body part, a sentient and passionate animal, and finally a demon with malicious intent, who bites and poisons the female body. The problems posed by female sexual and reproductive identity were ideally resolved by heterosexual, patriarchal marriage. Thus, women were constantly subjected to bodily practices over which they exercised limited physical or social control. And yet they were perhaps able to exercise relative agency, exchange information and create their own support networks through exclusively female rituals they attended as grown women.

2017, November 21
Prof John Huntley (Glasgow Caledonian University) "Admiral Bouboulina: a half-remembered hero?"

Laskarina Bouboulina (1771-1825) was a major figure in the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829) until her untimely murder. Greek popular culture in many ways honours her naval exploits as a Kapetanissa and as a major contributor to the cause of Greek independence (she was posthumously granted the honorary title of Admiral by Tsar Alexander III of Russia) . She led her men and her ships personally and successfully in battles on sea and land in the early stages of the Greek Revolution and her contributions were decisive. Her sacrifice for that cause was total.  

She is remarkable not only for acts of bravery and sacrifice, but also because, as a woman, particularly in that age, she overcame tremendous obstacles to achieve what she did. She was exceptional.  Yet despite her prominence in the Greek popular consciousness, and her remarkable achievements as a woman in an age and culture that mitigated against her, she is barely known internationally and either bypassed in historiography or, at best, referred to in the footnotes.  The result is a mismatch between the recording of her exploits in popular culture and their recording by historians. Reassessment of Bouboulina is needed to raise her to the prominence that she deserves.


2018, January 30
Scottish Evening - Liz Lochhead "Burns and women" followed by Burns supper

2018, February 27  Vasilopitta evening at Elia Restaurant, George Square

2018, March 13 
KARKALAS LECTURE Renee Hirschon (Oxford University) "Women in the social life of Asia Minor refugees in Piraeus"
Joint meeting with the Classical Association of Scotland-Glasgow and WEst

 

2018, April 10
Annual General Meeting at 19:00, followed at 19:30 by
Showing of film Phaedra, introduced by Dr Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow University)


 


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