CFP: “Gendered conceptions of soul and self in ancient Greece and ancient India” for CAMWS 2022

CFP: “Gendered conceptions of soul and self in ancient Greece and ancient India”
Classical Association of the Middle West and South Annual Meeting
March 23-26, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Organizer: Elizabeth LaFray, Siena Heights University

What is the soul of a woman like? This kind of question is not asked explicitly by ancient
philosophers within the ancient Greek and Indian traditions. It is implied, however, in
discussions about the self in Greek and Vedic philosophical texts like the Platonic and
Upaniṣadic dialogues and the Mahābhārata. At the same time, grounds for fruitful comparison
exist because there were real similarities between ancient Indian and ancient Greek cultures.
Both traditions were patriarchal and saw women, in their proper place, as wives under the
protection of husbands, fathers or some other male relative. Both cultures professed a strong
suspicion about the dangers of women’s bodies. For example, in ancient India, menstruating or
parturient women were associated with pollution and were completely segregated from men so
that evil spirits thought to be attached to them could not harm others. Likewise, in ancient
Greece, women’s dangerous bodies, full of excess blood and a movable womb, justified their
exclusion from political participation. This panel seeks works that reframe the study of the
concept of inner self in ancient Greek and ancient Indian philosophy and society using a
comparative approach in feminist and/or queer contexts. Possible topics include but are not
limited to:
-Concepts of soul and self in ancient Indian and ancient Greek literature
-Concepts of soul and self in ancient Indian and ancient Greek philosophical texts
-Binary, non-binary, and gender-fluid concepts in ancient Indian and ancient Greek culture and
society
-Gendered language in descriptions of psyche and ātman
-Ancient Greek and ancient Indian medical theories of female, male and non-binary bodies
-Considerations of idea exchange between ancient Greece and ancient India between 600 BCE
and 400 CE
-The function of gender and/or sex in ancient Greek and ancient Indian explanations of
immortality and reincarnation
-The function of gender and/or sex in ritual practices in ancient Greece and ancient India
The organizer welcomes papers on any of the above topics or other related topics. Please send
an anonymous abstract following CAMWS guidelines as an attachment (with your name and
contact information in the email only) to Elizabeth LaFray (elafray@sienaheights.edu) by
August 20, 2021.

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