FemClas 2020, the eighth quadrennial conference of its kind, takes place on May 21–24, 2020, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the invitation of the Wake Forest University Department of Classics and Department of Philosophy. The conference theme is “body/language,” broadly construed, and papers on all topics related to feminism, Classics, Philosophy, and related fields are welcome.
This conference focuses on the use of the body and/or language to gain, lose, contest, or express power and agency in the ancient Mediterranean world. Bodies and words, at both the physical and the conceptual levels, can exert disproportionate, oppositional, or complementary forces. Both have the power to transform their surrounding environments significantly. Yet there is a problematic dichotomy between body/physicality and language/reason, a problem long noted by philosophers, literary theorists, and social historians. FemClas 2020 seeks to contest, blur, and even eradicate these boundaries through papers, panels, and other programming that promotes interdisciplinary exploration of the ancient world.
We invite contributions that use the lens of bodies, languages, or their intersections to address any aspect of the ancient world, modern encounters with ancient cultures, or the academic practices of Classics, Philosophy, and related fields. Participants might explore how voices engender movement(s) and transform bodies, or how movement(s) in turn can stimulate recognition of unheard or otherwise suppressed voices and lead to change. These can be voices and movements within the ancient world, within the university, or within our modern disciplines. The study of agency, expressed through the problematic body/language dichotomy, addresses critical questions not only in scholarly work but also in the governance, makeup, and power dynamics of our fields, currently and historically. Now, perhaps more than ever, is a critical time for us to consider ourselves as students of bodies past and present, as embodied scholars, and to interrogate the repercussions of body normativity — from race and gender to neurodiversity, dis/ability, and body types — on our work and our profession.
All submissions are due September 1, 2019. FemClas 2020 welcomes individual papers, organized panels, workshops, roundtables, posters, author-meets-critic sessions, and other, innovative forms of programming. We encourage submissions from the widest possible range of perspectives, addressing all areas of the ancient world and its legacies. We also welcome proposals especially from related interest groups (such as Mountaintop, Eos Africana, the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus, MRECC, Classics & Social Justice, the Lambda Classical Caucus, the Women’s Classical Caucus, and EuGeSta) and from allied disciplines (e.g., English, comparative literature, media studies, environmental humanities, animal studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies).
Proposals should aim for an abstract of approximately 300 words (not counting works cited), and should be anonymous where possible. To submit a proposal for an individual paper or poster, visit:
To submit a proposal for any other type of session, visit:
We are enthusiastic about developing a program that will work toward making our intellectual community more welcoming and accessible to all. For this reason, we invite with special emphasis proposals for workshops, roundtables, and the like (creative formats welcome!) that will offer practical training about e.g. implicit bias, sexual harassment, racism, accessibility, developing diversity statements, and so forth.
The organizers (T. H. M. Gellar-Goad and Emily Austin) and the Program Committee of FemClas 2020 are committed to an inclusive, welcoming, and accommodating conference. Submissions from graduate students, contingent and underemployed faculty, and independent scholars are especially welcome. Submissions from undergraduate students are also welcome and will be considered separately for a dedicated panel. We will be able to provide reduced conference fees and some travel assistance for attendance by participants who cannot obtain institutional support.
As part of submission, registration, and attendance at the conference, we will ask you to agree to our conference Code of Conduct & Anti-Harassment Policy, which prohibits harassment and discrimination of any kind. A trained, experienced Anti-Harassment Administrator who is not a member of the discipline will receive and address or refer complaints about harassment and violations of the code of conduct. The Code of Conduct & Anti-Harassment Policy is available here:
FemClas 2020 will take place partially on the downtown campus of Wake Forest University and partially at a nearby hotel. Each site is fully accessible for all forms of mobility. At each site there will be all-gender bathrooms, a lactation room, a quiet room, and on-site childcare (which we hope to offer at no extra cost).
Some states prohibit using state funds to travel to North Carolina, despite the partial repeal of NC HB-2. Wake Forest University, as a private institution, is not subject to NC state legislative regulations of public universities, and Wake Forest has a non-discrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression: