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WCC: "Think of the Children!"

Think of the Children!

Women's Classical Caucus Panel, Society for Classical Studies
Chicago, January 2021
Organizers: Melissa Funke ( and Victoria Austen-Perry (

Whitney Houston famously sang that "The children are our future." What, then, is the future of Classics? That depends on what the children are seeing, hearing, and enacting as they absorb aspects of Greek and Roman antiquity through education and play. The avenues for such influence are limitless, ranging from written sources (storybooks, novels, ancient texts assigned in the classroom), to visual materials (tv, comics, film) to board games, computer games, toys, dolls, and craft projects.

Submissions should consider what image of the ancient world is marketed through such products and why this is the case. They may also question how problematic aspects of antiquity, especially the status of women, are handled in rendering the classics "child-friendly" (e.g. the grotesqueries of myth or the facts of slavery). Can negative aspects of the ancient world such as misogyny and slavery be reconceptualized for children without betraying or disguising antiquity beyond recognition? How is the cultural capital or fame of the classics used to market such items and with what results? We are particularly interested in how such materials are marketed to girls as opposed to boys and how girls and women in antiquity are presented to contemporary children. How is the cultural capital or fame of the classics used to market such items and with what results?

For this panel, we welcome abstracts concerning any form of classical reception aimed at children (pre-school to high school age): stories, videos, toys, games, puzzles, theater and performance, classroom materials, educational and home "activities". We invite papers that discuss not only in works explicitly focused on antiquity, but on works in which antiquity/classics plays a peripheral or episodic role (such as The Simpsons); costume (Halloween, themed parties, plays, cosplay); reenactments; websites. Submissions that consider how children themselves have received Greek and Roman antiquity (e.g. through fanfiction) are especially encouraged.

Abstracts, of 650 words or less, are due by March 10, 2020. Do not identify yourself in any way in the abstract itself, and please do not send it to the organizers. It should be sent as an email attachment to Peter Miller (, who will forward it to the organizers in anonymous form. Please follow the APA's formatting guidelines for individual abstracts (

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