Saturday, February 9, 2013

Subject: LCC Panel Call for Papers: DEADLINE EXTENDED!

The Lambda Classical Caucus CFP for the 2014 APA/AIA meetings in Chicago has been extended until March 17, the date that the WCC is also using. The Chicago LCC panel topic, which is presented in full below, is an attractive one: how cultural and social efforts to maintain sexual "morality" can often fail, either by falling flat or even by attracting newcomers to "vice." Some of us will remember the 1962 movie Advise and Consent, in which a naive young Senator was inveigled into entering an underground gay bar in Washington; the bar was preposterously stereotyped as a "den of iniquity," but tens of thousands of closeted gay men got their very first sight of such a "den" and they never looked back. Similar effects are sure to have been common also in antiquity. Were Petronius' readers necessarily all that revolted by the Priapic hijinks in Quartilla's country home? And how would such titillated readers read, say, an epic, whose generic law demanded decorum that stifled sexual expression? Did such decorum rule reception?

Stifling Sexuality?

Although, at least before the later Empire, sexual behavior between individuals of the same biological sex is widely tolerated in Greek and Roman law, expressions of personal or social disapproval are by no means unusual. Setting to one side the often uncertain status of pederasty, we note that many authors react to same-sex sexual conduct with distaste or even disgust, and subliterate attitudes, emerging in papyri or Pompeian graffiti, exhibit similar levels of hostility. A representative example, perhaps, of unofficial attitudes is Clement of Alexandria, who writes in his Paedagogus at 3.3.23: "I admire the ancient legislators of the Romans: they detested effeminate conduct and, according to their law of justice, they deemed it worthy of the pit to engage in carnal intercourse as the female, against the law of nature." Clement states that these laws were no longer enforced in Alexandria ca. 200 CE.

How should we evaluate expressions of disdain like Clement's? How effective are they likely to have been, either in conjunction with legal restrictions or independent of them? It is clear, for instance, that social controls are often adopted or relied upon when law is deemed ineffective for one reason or another. An example is ancient attitudes towards rights of authorship, which were fairly vigilant even though copyright itself did not yet exist; outright plagiarism was not remotely so common as one might have anticipated, see Katharina Schickert, Der Schutz literarischer Urheberschaft im Rom der klassischen Antike (2005).

Should we posit something similar for same-sex behavior? How did social views interact with legal restrictions? Were social controls successful in deterring at least public displays of same-sex conduct? Did social controls modulate displays in certain respects, or lead to the expression of same-sex desire in oblique ways?

Papers are invited on the widest possible basis consistent with this general theme. They may examine norms (alone or in conjunction with law), or look more closely at particular authors or particular forms of sexual conduct, including not just sexual intercourse but also behavior or dress identified with sexual minorities. We also welcome papers that consider connections between these norms and expectations of gender performance conforming to roles for women or men. The general aim of the panel will be to focus closely on this topic of informal modes of control and resultant expression, and so to encourage the development of scholarship concerning them.

Submissions should be anonymous, and otherwise adhere to APA guidelines for the formatting of abstracts. Please do not send abstracts to panel organizers; e-mail them as word documents to Ruby Blondell ( Questions may be addressed to the panel organizers: Bruce Frier ( or Mark Masterson ( The NEW deadline is March 17, 2013.