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Green Like a Woman: Gender Expression and Erotic Manners
A lecture by Tommaso Gazzarri (Union College), part of the Winter 2022 CMRS-CEGS Research Seminar, Classics 250, “Eros. Amor. The Erotic Cultures of the Early Global World” taught by Professor Giulia Sissa (Political Science and Classics).
Professor Gazzarri’s research explores the ancient association of the color galbinus with the figure of the cinaedus (Martial 3.82.5; Juvenal 2.97). Like Greek chloros, galbinus corresponds to a hue between yellow and green. Unlike viridis, galbinus, when referring to persons, is utilized mainly to describe women and cinaedi. “Sexuality” or “sexual orientation” as a category of identity is a modern construction, and the ancient sexual experience is generally understood as hinging on the Foucauldian binomial active/passive (Halperin 1990, Williams 1999), without other explicit markers of sexual or group identity. Yet some scholars have argued in favor of the existence of “minorities” in the ancient world, such as that of “men desiring to be penetrated by men” (Richlin 1993), (Clarke 2005). Membership in such “minorities” is often indicated by shared style of dress, fashion, and body language, which strengthen subculture identity and function as elements conveying a sense of group membership (Hebdige 1979). Analysis of the color galbinus, as typical both of Roman female cosmetics and gynecological afflictions, suggests that the specific association of this hue with the so-called cinaedi can be gauged as cultural and anthropological evidence in favor of the existence of ante litteram “erotic orientations” in Rome.
“Green Like a Woman: Gender Expression and Erotic Manners“
12:00 – 1:30 pm Pacific Time