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Normal for Byzantium is Queer for Us

By Mark Masterson

We are increasingly aware that civil and ecclesiastical law in the Byzantine empire of the 800s-1000s was not overly anxious about sex and desire between men (e.g., Laiou 1992, 68, 78; Messis 2006, 779 n170; Pitsakis 2008, 8). Sex between men was one carnal failing among many. We should consider Byzantine epistolography and rhetoric, both of which are filled with tropes of all kinds, with this relatively liberal situation in mind. Byzantine epistolography features homoeroticism and pederastic terminology hearkening back to golden-age Athens.

Homo Urbanus or Urban Homos?: The Metronormative Trope, Philo’s Therapeuts, and Ancient Queer Subcultures

By James Hoke

“Metronormativity,” a term coined by J. Halberstam for the purpose of queer critique, can be deemed a contemporary queer trope. This trope is exemplified by the stories shared as part of the “It Gets Better” campaign: it gets better when gay kids in homophobic (often more rural; see Johnson, Gilley, and Gray) communities come out of the closet, pack their bags, and move to a big city, where they live happily ever after—usually in affluent, marital, white, cis-gendered, fit and able-bodied, gay male coupledom (see Puar 2011).

Io's Dance: A Queer Move in Prometheus Bound

By Sarah Olsen

For Sara Ahmed, “queer is […] a spatial term, which then gets translated into a sexual term, a term for a twisted sexuality that that does not follow a ‘straight line,’ a sexuality that is bent and crooked” (2006: 67). Dance scholar Ann Cooper Albright takes up Ahmed’s understanding of “orientation” as sexual and spatial phenomenon in order to articulate the value of movement practices that create moments of disorientation and creative opening (2013: 13-14).

“ἦλθον Ἀμαζόνες ἀντιάνειραι,” or, Going Amazon: Queering the Warrior Women in the Iliad

By Rowan Ash

The programmatic role of the vanishingly concise references to Amazons in the Iliad within both Homer’s epic and wider ancient myths of the Amazons invites an examination of the relationships between tropes and queerness in Greco-Roman mythic conceptions of gender and conflict. Here I extend “tropes,” on the one hand, to include both semantic play and rhetorical figures more generally, including marked “turns” of phrase, and extend “queerness,” on the other hand, to the questioning of and non-conformity with gender norms.