Slavery and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity

deadline for submissions: 
June 8, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
C. W. Marshall
contact email: 

Slavery and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity

We are inviting chapters of 6000-7000 words for an edited collection that explores the intersection of slavery and sexuality in the ancient world. The past twenty years have seen ground-breaking scholarship that has illuminated Greek and Roman prostitution, and this volume will broaden the area of study to document more fully the role of sex in the lives of slaves who were not prostitutes, and to consider the various ways in which sexuality and slavery were interconnected in the minds of the ancients. Chapters might include discussion of the following issues:

  • To what extent were slaves sexually abused by their masters (or protected from sexual abuse)?
  • What do our sources reveal about sexual relationships between slaves?
  • To what extent were same-sex relations between free and slave idealized?
  • How do sex and sexuality relate to a slave’s chances of manumission?
  • To what degree were slaves viewed as fetish items, voyeurs, or sexual tools?
  • Can slaves be thought of as sexual subjects, as well as sexual objects?
  • Are modern terms like ‘sex trafficking’ and ‘sexual labor’ useful for talking about ancient slavery?
  • How can cultural theory, and in particular queer theory, help us think through the power relations inherent in master-slave sexual relations?
  • Can cross-cultural models illuminate our understanding of ancient slave sexuality?
  • How is ancient slave sexuality presented in modern discourses of sexuality?

All approaches to the topic (e.g. literary, archaeological, historical, art-historical, comparative) are welcome, and we seek to include a broad representation of methodologies. We are particularly looking to include contributions that engage directly with material culture.

The University of Wisconsin Press has expressed interest in publishing the collection. Subject to peer review and press approval of the final manuscript with completed contributions, the editors expect publication in the series Wisconsin Studies in Classics.

Please send abstracts of c. 300 words, along with a cv, to dkamen@uw.edu and toph.marshall@ubc.ca by 8 June 2018. Acceptances will be confirmed by June 29. Final papers will be due at the end of December.

Deborah Kamen (University of Washington), C. W. Marshall (University of British Columbia)