Call for Papers: Writing Ancient and Medieval Same-Sex Desire: Goals, Methods, Challenges

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 30 June – 2 July 2020

Deadline: 1 December 2019

For several decades now, scholars have devoted attention to same-sex desire in both ancient times and the centuries that followed. Not surprisingly, there have been vigorous debates over how to go about it. These debates have been framed in various ways. Here are some examples:

× essentialism VERSUS constructivism;
× Foucauldian discourse analysis VERSUS approaches inspired by psychoanalysis;
× (the impossibility of) objective history VERSUS (overly) subjective history;
× perception of commonalities across time VERSUS rigorously historicizing insistence on the past’s alterity;
× positivism VERSUS imaginative reconstruction of contemporaneous receptions.

These dichotomies, which are both reductive and don’t exhaust the possibilities, continue to crackle with contention. They also continue to undergird and even disturb current scholarly endeavours.

We are looking for papers (30 minutes in length) in which scholars not only speak about primary source material but also reflect explicitly on the theoretical orientation of their work (see the dichotomies above for examples) and the purpose(s) of (their) scholarship on same-sex desire. An additional objective of this conference will be an edited volume of papers that will aim to showcase a variety of approaches to this important topic.

Please send proposals (c. 500 words) to Mark Masterson by 1 December 2019. If you have any questions, please send them to him at this address also.

In your proposal include

1) the primary source material/historical milieu to be discussed, and

2) the general theoretical basis of the work

The call for papers is also published online.