Call for Papers: Towards Feminist Reading of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Magic and Mystery Traditions

Courtesy of the ISNS mailing list:

Otherwise than the Binary: Towards Feminist Reading of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Magic and Mystery Traditions


A now common critique of the Western philosophical tradition is that it harbors an inherent sexism wherein “universal reason” is far from neutral but is, rather, positively viewed as masculine, setting itself over against the feminine domain of unreason, madness and mystery. Theorists like Genevieve Lloyd have argued that Greek modes of thought, particularly Pythagorean and Platonic, insofar as they appear to privilege identity over difference, the Limit over the Unlimited, the One over the Many, logos over pathos, the intelligible over the bodily, etc., all harbor and reinforce a gendered hierarchy. To be sure, the overall goal of this volume will be to examine whether or not the Greek worldview neatly falls within this “phallologocentric” tradition. Are there ways of thinking antiquity differently, namely, as a expounding and celebrating philosophies of difference and possibly complementary to feminism’s concern with the overcoming of traditional and patriarchal metaphysics?


Despite the tradition of representing Greeks as a world of sober rationality, scholars like Dodds, Rohde, Onians, Vernant, and Detienne challenged this model by emphasizing the ‘irrational’ aspects of Ancient Greek thought and practice. For example, Parmenides, a philosopher who is lauded as the ‘father of logic’ expresses his philosophy in an esoteric poem that describes his experience in meeting a goddess. Socrates, in the Phaedrus, praises love as a kind of divine madness. In recent years, issues of gender in the Ancient Greek world are of crucial significance to our understanding of the culture of the time, providing necessary context for our reception of core philosophical texts. The work
of feminist pioneers in classics, such as Nicole Loraux and Froma Zeitlin, has sparked a continuing discussion of how gender constructions in the Ancient Greek world shaped the philosophical ideas that continue to persist in our contemporary philosophical discussions.


We invite analyses on topics that engage with Greek philosophy, magic, mystery traditions in relationship to questioning the classical representations of gender, where it often falls on a neat binary in which the masculine is privileged. The final volume will be designed to reflect as many different topics as possible, including but not limited to: Pythagorean tradition, sacred geometry, Platonism, Neoplatonists such as Plotinus and Iamblichus, mystery traditions and rituals such as the Thesmophoria and other Ancient Greek festivals, Theurgy, The Eleusinian Mysteries, Dionysian practices, divination, curse tablets, sorcery, Orphic traditions, Presocratics such as Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Empedocles, Hekate, and the magical papyri.
Please send a 300-500 word abstract to by February 1, 2017.
Include your name, affiliation, and a brief biography in the accompanying email. If your abstract is accepted, finished articles will be due by Nov. 15, 2017.
Please direct any inquiries about the project to the editors at their institutional addresses, provided below.
Dr. Danielle A. Layne, Philosophy Department, Gonzaga University,
Dr. Jessica Elbert Decker, Philosophy Department, CSU San Marcos,