A number of people asked me to expand on my Forbes column from last week, which addressed the long history of eunuchs around the world and in Game of Thrones. This is a short reading list focused on scholarship in English for those wishing to begin to read about the subject. I am neither an expert on eunuchs nor a global historian of modern history. As you will see below, my expertise is firmly in Greco-Roman and early Byzantine history–so please forgive my ignorance of modern eunuchism. If you wish to add to the bibliography (and feel free to do this), please simply submit a comment with a new citation. It will be added and you will be credited for your contribution. Many of these resources are admittedly not open-access materials (my apologies), but I wanted to note just a few of the major works that can be either checked out from the library or accessed through academic publication databases.
Ancient Greco-Roman and Near Eastern Eunuchs:
Burke, Sean D. 2009. “Reading the Ethiopian Eunuch as a Eunuch: Queering the Book of Acts.” Dissertation. Graduate Theological Union.
_____2013.Queering the Ethiopian Eunuch: Strategies of Ambiguity in Acts. Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
Guyot, Peter (Hildesheim), “Eunuchs”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider. Consulted online on 22 August 2017
Devecka, Martin. “The Traffic in Glands.” The Journal of Roman Studies 103 (2013): 88-95.
Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd (trans.) 2010. Ctesias’ History of Persia : tales of the Orient Routledge.
Long, Jacqueline. 1996. Claudian’s In Eutropium, or, How, when, and why to slander a eunuch. University of North Carolina [Contributed by Jeroen Wijnendaele]
Matthews, Lydia. “XANTHUS OF LYDIA AND THE INVENTION OF FEMALE EUNUCHS.” The Classical Quarterly 65, no. 2 (2015): 489–99.
Reusch,Kathryn. 2013. “That which was missing”: the archaeology of castration.” DPhil. University of Oxford. [Contributed by Adele Curness]
Uroš, Matić. “Gender in Ancient Egypt: Norms, Ambiguities, and Sensualities.” Near Eastern Archaeology 79, no. 3 (2016): 174-83.
Late Antique and Byzantine Eunuchs:
Greatrex, Geoffrey, and Jonathan Bardill. “Antiochus the “Praepositus”: A Persian Eunuch at the Court of Theodosius II.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 50 (1996): 171-97.
Kuefler, Mathew. 2001. The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, gender ambiguity, and Christian ideology in late antiquity. University of Chicago [Contributed by Robin Whelan]
Neil, Bronwen, and Lynda Garland. 2016. Questions of gender in Byzantine society. London: Routledge.
Ringrose, Kathryn M. 2007. The Perfect Servant: Eunuchs and the Social Construction of Gender in Byzantium. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Tougher, Shaun. 2010. The Eunuch in Byzantine History and Society. Routledge.
De Wet, Christopher Len. 2015. Preaching Bondage: John Chrysostom and the Discourse of Slavery in Early Christianity. UC. 256-67.
Ayalon, David. 1999. Eunuchs, caliphs and sultans : a study in power relationships. Hebrew University. [Contributed by Kameliya Atanasova]
Ottoman Use of African Eunuchs
Junne, George H. 2016. The black eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire: networks of power in the court of the sultan.
Ehud, R. 1984. “The Imperial Eunuchs of Istanbul: From Africa to the Heart of Islam,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3: 379-390.
Tsai, Shih-shan Henry. 1996. The Eunuchs in the Ming dynasty. New York: State University of New York.
Indian and Pakistani Eunuchs:
Jaffrey, Zia. 1996. The Invisibles : a tale of the eunuchs of India.
Khan, Shahnaz. 2016. “What is in a Name? Khwaja Sara, Hijra and Eunuchs in Pakistan,” Indian Journal of Gender Studies 23.2. 218-242.
Höfert, Almut et al. 2018. Celibate and Childless Men in Power: Ruling Eunuchs and Bishops in the Pre-Modern World. Routledge. [Contributed by Peter Kruschwitz]
These resources are just a start point for addressing the key issues of eunuchs, gender, and marginality. I invite you to keep the citations and conversation going in the comments section or on Twitter.
Other Syllabi And Bibliographies Addressing Marginality And Inclusion:
For many years now, I have taught a course on marginal & outcast peoples in the ancient and modern world [HONR 1670_Outcast Syllabus] that stemmed from my book on the construction of occupational disrepute in Roman antiquity. I am delighted to see my colleagues in medieval and early modern studies taking the topic to new (and exceptional) levels. This following the events at the Leeds Medieval Congress this summer (2017) and the rise in white nationalist marches, attacks, and demonstrations this year. Of particular note is Jonathan Hsy’s Twitter thread on #Inclusive Syllabus, which is explained below. I would also direct you to Dorothy Kim’s blog, “In the Middle,” and the “Medieval People of Color” tumblr. You can even contribute to the crowd-sourced bibliography on race and medieval studies begun by professors Jonathan Hsy and Julie Orlemanski.