ETC is pleased to present the following seminar series in Hilary Term (February and March 2022), which will be on ‘Gender Identities in Early and Premodern Text Cultures’. The seminar will be held in a hybrid form, with Zoom connection complementing a limited on-site presence at the Dickson Poon Building (China Centre, Oxford), Lucina Ho Seminar Room, on Thursdays 16:30-18:00 UK time. Auditors are most welcome to attend in person. Zoom links will be provided on each session's day to those who sign up.

As is often recognised, the dominant voices in the premodern world have been men's voices. Yet textual sources––from the literary to the administrative––are critical to recovering the heterogeneity that in many cases characterised ancient and premodern societies. Women were inspiring muses; but they also expressed themselves in poetry and participated in cultural productions. In some cases, there is ample evidence that they held leading roles in politics and the economy. Speakers will give a stage to these voices, as they speak to us from premodern textual cultures. We also welcome proposals that consider the varying intersections between gender and identity, as well as on how gender representation interacted with that of other (potentially) marginalised social groups. 

Abstracts for each session may be found in the sidebar to the left, or by clicking on the names of presenters.


§1st session (week 3, Thursday 3rd February)

Sexuality and Gendered Hierarchy

Old Babylonian Sumerian poetry; Ming-Qing literature

Christie Carr (University of Oxford) and Julie Chan (University of Oxford)

§2nd session (week 4, Thursday 10th February)

Gender and Justice

Hellenistic Greece; Late Imperial China

Elisa Daga (University of Pisa and Siena) and Mengdie Zhao (Harvard University).

§3rd session (week 6, Thursday 24th February)

Women's Communities 

Sufism of Kashmir; Nüguo Queendoms

Fayaz Ahmad (University of Kashmir) and Frederique Darragon (Sichuan University).

§4th session (week 9, Thursday 17th March) 

Gender and Religion

Chinese popular religion; Early Buddhism and Neopythagoreanism

Zhujun Ma (University of Colorado Boulder) and Brinda Sarma (Ashoka University)