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Call for Abstracts: Turning Queer

Turning Queer: Queerness and the Trope

The Lambda Classical Caucus invites abstracts for papers that investigate relationships between tropes and queerness in the ancient Mediterranean.  Ancient and modern scholars have enumerated and explored tropes in visual arts, language, literature, politics, and other parts of ancient cultures.  A trope may be “a figure which consists in using a word or a phrase in a sense other than that which is proper to it” (OED), such as a metaphor, or a theme or device used commonly in a particular style, genre, or discourse, such as the lament of the exclusus amator, and it may also be thought of in its root sense: a turning.  We understand queerness broadly as questioning, ignoring, resisting, or in other ways not conforming with norms of gender, sex, sexuality, and/or erotics in a society.  We welcome submissions on tropes and queerness in any part of an ancient Mediterranean culture or its later reception.  We hope that, by examining ideas of turning, figurative representation, and commonly used themes or devices in relation to queer modes of non-conformity, this panel will reveal new dimensions of tropes and queerness.  

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • How have tropes been used to represent queer people and queerness?
  • How have people tried to control or limit non-conformity with tropes?
  • How have non-conforming people found empowerment in tropes?  Have they used tropes to understand themselves?  To question norms?  To communicate with each other?
  • How does queerness interact with a particular trope or with an idea of a trope?
  • How have modern queers troped cultures of the ancient Mediterranean or interacted with tropes of the ancient Mediterranean?

Please email abstracts for 20-minute papers to by February 1, 2018.  Abstracts may be up to 500 words (not including works cited).  Please submit abstracts as anonymized PDF’s, and include 1) the author’s name and 2) contact information and 3) the title of the proposed paper in the text of the email.  Membership in the Society for Classical Studies is required for participation in this panel.  Please email any questions to David Wray at, Hannah Mason at, and Rob Matera at

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