Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Klassische Philologie, HU Berlin

International Workshop: Narrator's Voice and Society

Approaches to the intersectionality of gender, social category and ethnicity in ancient texts


The aim of the workshop is to explore how a recent approach from social sciences can be adapted to the study of Greek and Latin literature. Notably, the participants of the workshop will discuss how to use an intersectional approach that considers gender, age, race and class in reading Greek and Roman perspectives on customs, actions and beliefs in literary texts.

An important question is which literary devices authors adopt to defend or question the norms and values attached to figures of a certain social class and gender they depict. How does gender of narrators or figures in text influence the way they are speaking?

Also, the workshop will focus on how authors present people coming from abroad, for instance by emphasising which kind of manners, practices and beliefs are typical for foreigners. When are foreigners depicted in a positive way, and which foreign habits ancient narrators present as transgressive of their own norm?

Program as PDF (A4)

9.00-9.10: Darja Šterbenc Erker: Introduction

9.10-9.50: Martin Dinter (King’s College London): A woman's place - laying down the law with Cato the Elder

9.50-10.25: Cynthia Bruhn (Humboldt University Berlin): Becoming visible through hiketeia: How women in Herodotus’ Histories gain scope of action through the supplication ritual

10.25-11.05: Elena Giusti (University of Warwick): Rac(ializ)ing Dido

11.30-12.10: Anke Walter (Newcastle University): Knowledge, class, and the calendar in Ovid’s Fasti

12.10-12.50: Laurenz Enzlberger (University of Vienna): ‘Tragedy by proxy’: gender and genre in Ovid’s Io-narrative (Met. 1.588–747)

14.00-14.40: Antonia Aluko (University College London): The Roman witch: the intersectionality of magic use, ethnicity, and gender in Ovid's Circe (Met. 14.1-434)

14.40-15.20: Bettina Reitz-Joosse (University of Groningen): Literary representations of manufacture as social acts of elision in imperial Rome

15.50-16.30: Darja Šterbenc Erker (Humboldt University Berlin): Devalorisation of Augustus as prone to superstition and worshipping “foreign” gods

16.30-17.10: Lindsay G. Driediger-Murphy (University of Calgary, Canada): Intersectionality and aniconism: The case of Elagabalus

17.10-17.50: Maijastina Kahlos (University of Lisbon): The barbaric superbia and the Roman nobleness – Alaric and Stilicho in Claudian’s De bello Getico and Panegyricus de Sexto Consulatu Honorii Augusti

18.00-18.45: Final Discussion


to attend the workshop please send an email to