Call for Papers: Symposium Cumanum 2019

Virgil and the Feminine
Symposium Cumanum 2019
June 20-22, Villa Virgiliana, Cuma

Co-Directors: Elena Giusti (Warwick) and Victoria Rimell (Warwick)

The ‘Father of the West’ has not escaped scrutiny by feminist criticism. Since identifying the repressed female voice with Virgil’s subversive voice of loss (Perkell 1997, Nugent 1999),  scholars have turned from a practice of reading Virgilian women to an investigation of women reading Virgil (Desmond 1993, Cox 2011), from accounts of the patriarchal structures underpinning the Aeneid, and the poem’s performances of masculinity (Keith 2000), to readings that assert the centrality of the feminine in what is after all a history of reproduction (McAuley 2016, Rogerson 2017). Yet feminist approaches to Virgil still represent a tiny portion of contemporary scholarship, and Virgil – unlike Homer, or Ovid – has traditionally not been seen as fertile territory for feminist philosophy. This Symposium asks how ever-evolving contemporary feminisms might engage in new dialogues not just with the Aeneid, Eclogues and Georgics,but also with the Appendix Vergiliana,and aims to reassess, through Virgil, the role and potential of feminist modes of reading within classical philology. We welcome papers on any aspect of Virgil and the feminine/feminist criticisms and theories, and particularly encourage proposals by scholars interested in engaging across disciplines, and/or with any of the following topics:

abuse, affect, agency, animal, circularity, colour, desire, ecology, hysteria, identity, identity politics, ineffectiveness, intersubjectivity, lack, maternity, metaphor, metonym, nature, origin, pain, pleasure, the political, post-critique, pregnancy, queer, race, resistance, silence, song, teleology, time, touch, transferral, translation, virginity.

Confirmed Speakers: Sergio Casali (Roma Tor Vergata), Rita Degl’Innocenti Pierini (Firenze), Alex Dressler (Wisconsin-Madison), Erik Gunderson (Toronto), Alison Keith (Toronto), Helen Lovatt (Nottingham), Sebastian Matzner (KCL), Mairéad McAuley (UCL),Ellen Oliensis (Berkeley), Christine G. Perkell (Emory), Amy Richlin (UCLA), Sarah Spence (Georgia).

Papers will be 30 minutes with 15 minutes for discussion. Participants will arrive on Wednesday 19thJune and the Symposium will include visits to Virgilian sites.

Anonymised abstracts of no more than 400 words in length should be sent to virgilandthefeminine@gmail.comby December 1, 2018.

  • We are committed to make the event as inclusive as possible, so please do get in touch directly with the organisers if you have any enquiries regarding access or childcare, and for any further information:

Dr Elena Giusti

Prof. Victoria Rimell

Cited Works

Cox, F. (2011) Sibylline Sisters: Virgil’s Presence in Contemporary Women’s Writing, Oxford.
Desmond, M. (1993) Reading Dido: Gender, Textuality, and the Medieval Aeneid, Minneapolis.
Keith, A. (2000) Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic, Cambridge.
McAuley, M. (2016) Reproducing Rome: Motherhood in Virgil, Ovid, Seneca and Statius, Cambridge.
Nugent, G. S. (1999) ‘The Women of the Aeneid: Vanishing Bodies, Lingering Voices’ in C. G. Perkell (ed.) Reading Vergil’s Aeneid: An Interpretive Guide, Norman, 251-70.
Perkell, C. G. (1997) ‘The Lament of Juturna: Pathos and Interpretation in the Aeneid’, TAPA127, 257-286.
Rogerson, A. (2017) Virgil’s Ascanius: Imagining the Future in the Aeneid, Cambridge.