CFP: Women Intellectuals in Antiquity, Oxford, 15-16 February 2020

Submission deadline: November 15, 2019

Conference date(s):
February 15, 2020 - February 16, 2020

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Conference Venue:

Keble College, Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Call for Papers: Women Intellectuals in Antiquity

15-16 February 2020, Keble College, Oxford

Aspasia, Hypatia, Sappho, Lucretia, Cleopatra, Diotima, Lavinia, Monica, Hecuba, Macrina, Radegund: the names of women intellectuals and the whispers of their powerful influence on philosophy, politics, literature, and education are scattered through the ancient evidence.

Who were these women teachers and philosophers, thought-leaders and theorists of Antiquity? Beyond how they are presented and used by male authors, how might their own thoughts and voices be fossilized within these ancient texts and other artefacts– and what methodological tools do we need to develop in order to excavate them? What can be recovered of the distinctive ideas and methods these women contributed to philosophy, literature, theology, or politics?

This Symposium aims to bring together scholars from across the humanities disciplines to discuss women intellectuals in Antiquity. In addition to paper sessions, it will feature two keynote talks by Dr. Danielle Layne and Dr. Sophia Connell, and two round-table discussions led by Peter Adamson ( and Armand D’Angour ( The Symposium will provide a forum for further discussion complementing the Carlyle Philosophy Lecture series which will be given in Oxford throughout Hilary Term by Professor Peter Adamson. 

You are invited to send proposals (c. 350 words) for papers of 30 minutes to no later than 15 November 2019. Textual case studies on individual women intellectuals in Antiquity (through the 7th century C.E.) are welcome, as well as papers addressing the methodological question more broadly. ‘Women intellectuals’ may be interpreted broadly and can include figures from literature as well as history, but the focus of the paper should be on the distinctive intellectual contributions, or method of engaging in intellectual pursuits demonstrated by the woman in question.

Select papers will be featured on a special edition of the History of Philosophy podcast. 

This event is jointly organised by Jenny Rallens, Peter Adamson, Katharine O’Reilly, and Ursula Coope. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Keble College Oxford and the British Society for the History of Philosophy.

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