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Classics and Black Feminist Traditions

In her 1993 essay “Black Feminist Thought and Classics: Re-Membering, Re-Claiming, Re-Empowering,” Shelley Haley asked “whether there is a role for classics in Black feminist thought and whether there is a role for Black feminist thought in classics.” In the years since the publication of Haley’s essay, scholars have explored the scholarship of Black women classicists and the engagement of Black women with antiquity, but much remains to be done. All too often, scholarship focuses on the work of Black men or on the “influence” of the Classics on Black thinkers, rather than on how these thinkers can transform our sense of the Classical. Even those dedicated to including silenced voices, such as Frank Snowden, fall into missteps when they overlook Black women and render “the black man of antiquity as a kind of Ralph Ellisonian ‘invisible man’” (Snowden, “Μέλας-Λευκός and Niger-Candidus Contrasts in Classical Literature,” 1988, 63–64). For this panel, we invite abstracts that seek to show how Black feminist traditions can open new critical approaches to Classics and the ancient world.

Black feminism is an intersectional critique of Eurocentrism and patriarchy. Drawing on theoretical underpinnings and frameworks developed by Imani Perry, bell hooks, Saidiya Hartman, Audre Lourde, Daphne Brooks, and Christina Sharpe, we turn to Black feminist thought for critical reading practices that resist gendered and raced domination both in the ancient world and in the discipline of Classics.

Abstracts will explore Black feminist approaches including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • revisions and re-interpretations of ancient sources, including (but not limited to) scholarly and artistic approaches
  • critiques of Classics and related fields
  • pedagogy for the Classics classroom (K-12 and college/university)

We welcome papers that think about the ways Black feminism interacts with indigenous critiques of patriarchy, colonialism and Eurocentrism.

Eos is a scholarly society dedicated to Africana receptions of ancient Greece and Rome. We are committed to the infusion of new ideas into Classics, and so we welcome abstracts that are exploratory in nature as well as abstracts of latter-stage research.

Please send abstracts that follow the guidelines for individual abstracts (see the SCS Guidelines for Authors of Abstracts) by email to by March 4th, 2022. Ensure that the abstracts are anonymous. The organizers will review all submissions anonymously, and their decision will be communicated to the authors of abstracts by March 31st, 2022, with enough time that those whose abstracts are not chosen can participate in the individual abstract submission process for the upcoming SCS meeting.