Exploring the Complexity of Gender Roles in the Ancient World

November 8, 2018 – Stefan Krmnicek (University of Tübingen) and Annetta Alexandridis (Cornell University) have organized an international workshop on gender numismatics which will take place on November 29-30, 2018 in Tübingen.

Recent archaeological studies have acknowledged that the function and meaning of ancient material culture is both resulting in and generative of habits, values, norms, and behaviors in a given society requiring a new set of interpretative methodologies. To that end, gender studies can become part of the research agenda.

In one particular area of ancient, especially Greco-Roman material culture, these research strands have not received the attention they deserve: coinage. Yet, the polyvalence of ancient coins provides an unequalled opportunity to enhance our understanding of the complexity and dynamics of gender roles in the Mediterranean World. As medium of exchange (in embedded and disembedded economies alike), of communication, or of power and authority on practical and symbolic levels they express and forge identities in different ways. The interplay of image, text, and materiality offers an excellent framework within which to study how coins operate between the single person and society at large with all the various transactions this entails.

The international workshop ‘Gender Numismatics. Fluid Identities and Ancient Coinage’ seeks to investigate the above mentioned dynamics, whether they are normative or deviant. While the archaeological evidence will take center stage, the organizers aim more generally at exploring the potential of gendered perspectives as critical tools for analyzing ancient coins. For instance, how did coin imageries negotiate gender roles and how did the use of coins in ritual deposits or as jewelry, to name but a few cases, deploy or change ideas of gender? To this purpose, it is proposed to work with a broad idea of gender including conceptions of age, class, and ethnicity (which can already be gendered as such).

The aim is to discuss each paper diachronically and from different perspectives. Archaeologists, numismatists, anthropologists, art historians, classicists, and historians are invited to present their research and thus actively contribute to this timely topic. Beside specific case studies, papers on comparative approaches or methodology more generally are welcome.

More information and the workshop program are available online.

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