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Keynote Speaker

Professor emerita helen king

Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at The Open University

Helen King is Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at The Open University. Originally trained in ancient history and social anthropology, she has moved into gender, medicine and the body in western Europe up to the nineteenth century and is currently a member of the History working group contributing to the Church of England bishops' teaching document on human sexuality. She has held a number of visiting roles most recently at the University of Vienna (2014), University of Notre Dame (2016) and Gustavus Adolphus College (2017-18). Her monographs include Hippocrates' Woman (1998), The Disease of Virgins (2004) and The One-Sex Body on Trial (2013). 

Follow Helen on Twitter @fluff35.

‘‘We Won't Play Culture to Your Nature’: Turning the Tables on Gender’

Other Speakers

The abstract for each paper can be viewed by clicking on the hyperlinked title below each presenter's details. To view all abstracts, please click here.


Professor Aaron Seider

Associate Professor (Classics Department), College of the Holy Cross

Aaron Seider is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the College of the Holy Cross. His PhD comes from the University of Chicago, and he earned his BA in Classics at Brown University. Aaron's teaching and research interests include Roman literature and culture, gender in antiquity and its reception, and constructions of memory in the ancient world. His talk here on Cicero's reaction to his daughter's death comes from his current book project, which explores the relationship between masculinity and grief in late Republican and early Augustan literature.

'The Face of Grief: Cicero’s Paternal Constructions'


Alexander Hardwick

DPhil candidate, University of Oxford

Alexander is in the 2nd year of a DPhil in Ancient Greek Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, thanks to the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He completed his BA in Classics at Queens' College, Cambridge, before moving to Magdalen for his MSt. His doctoral research concerns the portrayal and psychology of crowds in Attic drama. Beyond this, he has various academic interests, including gender across Classical literature and Greek and Latin textual criticism. He worked on gender in Quintus Smyrnaeus' Posthomerica for parts of his undergraduate and master's theses; this paper developed out of this work.

Follow Alexander on Twitter @AlexHardwick95.

'γυναιμανής: the Emasculation of Achilles in Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica'


Andrew Bunt

MA graduate from King's College London, and an Assistant Pastor

Andrew studied theology at Durham University before completing an MA in biblical studies at King's College London. His MA dissertation was titled 'Ancient Ideals of Masculinity and the Construction of Christian Identity in 1 Peter' and explored how the teaching of 1 Peter would have been received and evaluated in the context of Greco-Roman ideals of masculinity. He currently works as an assistant pastor at a church on the south east coast of England, a role which has sparked an interest in how ancient conceptions of masculinity might contribute to discussions about expressions of gender in modern day society.

'The Christological Transposition of Greco-Roman Masculinity: Strategies of Masculinisation in the Face of Suffering in 1 Peter'


Antonia Marie Reinke

PhD student, University of Cambridge

After completing a State Examination Degree in Ancient Greek Language and Literature, Mathematics and English at the University of Freiburg, Germany, Antonia came to the University of Cambridge for an M.Phil in Classics in 2014. She is currently completing her PhD in Classics at Cambridge, for which she explores the socio-hierarchical conceptualizations of the body in ancient Greek drama. Antonia's wider research interests include questions of being and performance, constructions of social identity, hierarchy and mobility, ideas of transformation and metamorphosis as well as theories of vision and (sensual/cognitive) perception.

'Feeling up the Homeric Hero, or: the Precarious Position of Heroic Masculinity at Moments of Touch'


dr Blossom Stefaniw

Heisenberg Fellow, German Research Council

Blossom Stefaniw is currently Heisenberg Fellow at the Martin Luther University of Halle. Previously she served as Junior Professor for Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. She is the author of two monographs: Mind, Text and Commentary: Noetic Exegesis in Origen of Alexandria, Didymus the Blind and Evagrius Ponticus, and, appearing spring 2019, Christian Reading: language, ethics and the order of things. She has also published numerous articles on ascetic reading practices and the ascetic imagination. Her research on gender focuses on theories of ethical excellence and the body in the late Roman Empire and includes an article on Straight Reading (2012) and a special issue on masculinity in Early Christianity (2019).

Follow Blossom on Twitter @BlossomStefaniw.

'The Abject Masculine and the Male Ascetic'


Borja MÉndez Santiago

Predoctoral researcher, University of Oviedo

Borja Méndez is a predoctoral researcher at the University of Oviedo (Spain). He has University degrees in History and History of Art, and is now doing a PhD about the masculinity roles in Plutarch's Parallel Lives. He is also interested in other research topics, such as the different life stages, motherhood and disability studies.

'Negative Models of Masculinity in Plutarch's Parallel Lives'


Camille Angelo

PhD student, Yale University

Camille Grace Leon Angelo is a first-year Ph.D. student in Ancient Christianity at Yale University. She holds a BA Hons. in Archaeology and Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Religion with a concentration in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Yale University. Her work interrogates assumptions about early Christian bodies by putting material culture in conversation with feminist and queer theories. In August she launched the Late Antiquity Modeling Project, an international and interdisciplinary digital humanities project dedicated to reconstructing late antique ritual spaces in three dimensions.

'Gender-Ambiguity in the Life of Matrona of Perge: The Christomimeticism of an Early Christian Holy Woman Disguised as a Man'

Dr Chris Mowat

Teaching Associate in Ancient History, University of Sheffield

Chris Mowat is a Teaching Associate in Ancient History at the University of Sheffield. They recently received their PhD in Classics and Ancient History at Newcastle University, with a thesis focused on the relationship between gender and religion in the ancient world.

Follow Chris on Twitter @chrismologos.

'Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Priest: Masculinity, Attire and the Eunuch Priests of Magna Mater at Rome'


dr Claire Rachel Jackson

Teaching Associate, University of Cambridge

Dr. Claire Rachel Jackson is a Teaching Associate at Sidney Sussex College and Language Teaching Associate at the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge. Her PhD thesis, awarded by the University of Cambridge in 2017, looked at theories and practices of fiction as a philosophical, literary, and cultural concept in the ancient Greek novel. Other research interests include epistolography, (auto)biographical fictions, and conceptions of empire in imperial literature.

Follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireRJackson.

'Epic Manhood: Masculinity, Physicality, and Chastity in Heliodorus' Aithopika'


Elaine Sanderson

PhD student, University of Liverpool

Elaine is a 2nd year AHRC NWCDTP-funded PhD student in Classics & Ancient History at the University of Liverpool, having previously completed a BA (Hons) & MA at the University of Exeter. Her PhD thesis, supervised by Professor Bruce Gibson, examines necromancy and civil war as transformative processes in Lucan's Bellum Civile. Her other research interests include Flavian epic, Senecan drama, ancient rhetoric, and classical receptions in opera.

Follow Elaine on Twitter @ElainaM42.

'Hypermasculinity and Paradox in Seneca's Thyestes'


Dr Eleni Ntanou

Hellenic-American Educational Foundation (Psychico College)

Eleni Ntanou recently completed her PhD on ‘Ovid and Virgil’s Pastoral Poetry’ at the University of Manchester. She is mainly interested in pastoral and epic poetry and, generally, the study of genre as well as gender in Augustan and Flavian literature. She also works with migration narratives, literary geographies and identity.

Follow Eleni on Twitter @eleni_ntanou.

'Orpheus and the Maenads: Subversive Male Heroics in Latin Epic Poetry'


DR Elina Pyy

Postdoctoral researcher, University of Helsinki

Elina Pyy is a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Helsinki. Her research interests cover Roman imperial poetry, classical reception studies and gender studies. Her recent publications include a monograph The Semiotics of Caesar Augustus (Bloomsbury 2018), as well as several articles on the construction of Roman identity in imperial literature.

'Heroic Vulnerability in Flavian War Epic'


Dr Hannah-Marie Chidwick

Teaching Fellow in Classics, University of Bristol

Hannah-Marie is an early career academic teaching in Classics at the University of Bristol, specialising in experimentation with different methodological approaches to ancient texts. Her interdisciplinary research draws from Continental philosophy and critical military studies, focusing on depictions of violence and the soldierly body in the Roman world and modern conflict, with a view to comparatively exploring the role of the body in warfare. She recently hosted a colloquium at Bristol on the Body of the Combatant in the Classical World, and began exploring the relationship between ideals of masculinity and the Roman army in an article, 'Quidquid homo est? Military manliness in Lucan's Civil War' (HARTS and Minds, 2017).

Follow Hannah-Marie on Twitter @hannahmarie_c.

'Virgil's Camilla: The Performativity of Manliness in Roman Warfare'


Henry Tang

PhD student, University of Cambridge and Classics Teacher at Headington School, Oxford

Henry did his undergrad at KCL. He then moved to Worcester College, Oxford for his MSt, and is in the final stages of completing his PhD. He is currently teaching Classics at the Headington School Oxford.

'Size Doesn't Matter (?): Heroic Bodies in Statius' Thebaid'


Jessica Wells

PhD candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jessie received an MA in Classics at the University of Illinois in 2014 and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of New Mexico in 2012. She is currently a PhD candidate in Classical Philology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her non-philological research interests include visual art of the ancient and modern worlds and Classical reception in a variety of media, including film and television. She is working on a dissertation chapter that follows the themes of metaliterary castration/emasculation, self-mutilation, and authorial self-censorship as it applies the body of the poetic work (i.e. the book).

Follow Jessie on Twitter @jessrwells.

'Castrating Priapus: Metaliterary Emasculation in Martial's Epigrams'


Dr John Moxon

Principal Lecturer in Biblical Studies, University of Roehampton

John Moxon studied at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Durham and has taught New Testament at Roehampton since 2014. His research interests include dream and vision motifs in Hellenistic and Roman literature, the Bible, gender and mental health, Jewish Christianity and post-supercessionist perspectives on the NT. His first monograph was "Peter's Halakhic Nightmare" published in 2017 by Mohr Siebeck.

Follow John on Twitter @jrlmoxon.

'Jewish Women as Killers and Bearers of Martyrs - A Discourse of Female Courage in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods'


Julene Abad Del Vecchio

PhD student, The University of Manchester

Julene is in the writing up year of her PhD at the University of Manchester. Her thesis looks to explore a more nefarious, darker side to Statius' Achilleid, examining the poem’s intertextual relationship to its epic and tragic predecessors. Her research interests include Flavian literature and the gory world of Lucan, but she is still enamoured with the Augustan poets. Away from verse, she is interested in Italo Calvino, Elsa Morante and any good detective novel.

Follow on Twitter @JulesAcherontea.

'Sexus iners?: A Consideration of Deidamia's Role in the Achilleid'


Katharine Mawford

PhD student, The University of Manchester

Kat Mawford is a 3rd year PhD student in Classics at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on water-based shapeshifters of Greek myth, such as Proteus and Thetis, and their depiction in Greek literature. Her other research interests include monsters and the supernatural elements of Greek literature, the relationship between myth and folktale themes, and methods of storytelling and narration. Outside of her research, Kat is involved with outreach community and schools projects including Manchester Classics for All, Athena's Owls library sessions, and the Manchester Classical Association.

Follow Kat on Twitter @katmawford.

''πρόσθεν οὐκ ἀνὴρ ὅδ ̓ ἦν;' Ajax’s Madness and Excessive Masculinity'


rabbi Neil Janes

PhD student, King's College London, and Rabbi at West London Synagogue

Rabbi Neil Janes is a rabbi at West London Synagogue and executive director of the Lyons Learning Project. He has a BA degree in Education and Psychology and an MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He was ordained by the Leo Baeck College in 2006 and has studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Haifa University. He is pursuing a PhD in Rabbinic Literature at King's College London. He is a lecturer for the Leo Baeck College in Talmud and Midrash and adjunct faculty of Hebrew College in Boston.

Follow Neil on Twitter @rabbineiljanes.

'The Babylonian Talmud's Description of Tamar's Rape by Amnon: A Rabbinic Dismemberment'


professor Paul Middleton

Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of Chester

Paul Middleton is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the University of Chester. His research focusses mainly on the phenomenon of martyrdom in both the ancient and modern world. He is the author of Radical Martyrdom and Cosmic Conflict in Early Christianity (2006), Martyrdom: A Guide for the Perplexed (2011), and The Violence of the Lamb: Martyrs as Agents of Divine Judgement in the Book of Revelation (2018), and he is also editing the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Martyrdom (expected 2019).

Follow Paul on Twitter @ProfPMiddleton.

'Manly Brides: Sergius and Bacchus and the Construction of Masculinity in Early Christian Martyr Narratives'


Peter Swallow

PhD candidate, King's College London

Peter is currently completing his PhD at King's College, London under the supervision of Prof. Edith Hall, having previously studied at St Andrews and Oxford. His doctoral thesis is on the British reception of Aristophanes in the long-nineteenth century. His research interests include ancient comedy in theory and practice, reception studies, and gender and sexuality.

Follow Peter on Twitter @PDJSwallow.

'Deconstructing Sexual Assault in Aristophanes'


dr Piotr Ashwin-Siejkowski

Module Tutor, King's College London

Piotr teachers New Testament Greek and other subjects in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He is also a half-time assistant priest at St Mary's Church (Twickenham). His academic research is related to Christian Origins and the formation of Christian Doctrine (1st to the later 3th century CE), emergence of Alexandrian hermeneutical tradition: (Philo, Valentinus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen) and reception of the NT documents in the Nag Hammadi collection: Valentinus and his milieu.

'Should We Blame Philo? Philonic Construction of “Masculinity” and Early Christian Reception'


Rioghnach Sachs

PhD student, King's College London

Rioghnach Sachs is a LAHP-funded PhD student in Comparative Literature at King's College London. She is researching ’lesbian fluidity' in the classical tradition, comparing ancient literary expressions of female-female desire with contemporary equivalents. She is also interested in experimental modes of translation. Drawing on her choral experience, she recently won second prize in KCL’s Modern Classicisms Competition, for her choral composition, The Hymn of Iphis.

Follow Rioghnach on Twitter @rioghnachsachs.

'The Gender-Ambiguous Deconstruction of Masculinity and Femininity in Sappho's Fragments'

Dr Tom de Bruin

Lecturer in New Testament Exegesis and Early Christian Literature, Newbold College

Tom de Bruin received his PhD from Leiden University in 2013, where he studied early Christian conceptions of evil, Satan, and demons. He currently works as Lecturer in New Testament Exegesis and Early Christian Literature at Newbold College of Higher Education (Binfield, Berkshire). His published a monograph entitles The Great Controversy: The Individual's Struggle between Good and Evil in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and in Their Jewish and Christian Contexts in 2014.

Follow Tom on Twitter @Tominee.

'Joseph the Good and Delicate Man: Masculinity in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs'