Teaching Ancient, Early Christian, And Medieval History in the Era of #MeToo: A Short Bibliography

I think we can all agree that sexual harassment and assault are not inventions of the 20th or 21st centuries. While the visibility of these issues have increased notably in the past 6 months, they have sadly been a part of the tapestry of history since the very beginning. The good news (and there has been a dearth of it) is that historians, classicists, librarians, and theologians have begun to respond to the #metoo movement by incorporating it into their lessons plans and revisiting primary sources with a new eye towards awareness. Here are just a few of the exceptional articles on the subject (and a few that came out earlier) that may help you revise your syllabi or just stay woke:

Ancient History: 

Mary Beard, “Who was Hylas?” The Times Literary Supplement (February 4, 2018). [Addresses the myth of Hylas]

Cloelia (2011): Alison Jeppesen Wigelsworth, “Pedagogical Issues in Classics,: Editor’s Introduction: Teaching Rape”; Rosanna Lauriola, “The Shuttle of Their Voices: A Comment on a Class Response to an Assignment About Rape”; Daniella Widdows, “Teaching Classical Texts that Include Rape at an All Male College” [PDF of the issue]

Liz Gloyn, “The classical pedagogy of trigger warnings,” and “The Problematic Ovid lecture,” Classically Inclined (January 21, 2014). [Addresses Ovid in particular]

Rebecca Futo Kennedy, “CONSENT AND RAPE: IS IT A MODERN THING? NO.” Classics at the Intersections (August 4, 2017).

Sara Hales and Arum Park, “Teaching Classics in the Age of #MeToo,” SCS Blog (February 14, 2018). [Addresses the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the Rape of Lucretia in particular]

Hortensia, “Et in Arcadia Ego: What #MeToo Means in Classics,” Eidolon (December 4, 2017). [Addresses Hortensia within Appian in particular]

Sharon James, “Feminist Pedagogy and Teaching Latin Literature,” Cloelia 38.1 (2008) 11-14 [PDF of Cloelia]
_____”34. Teaching Rape in Roman Love Elegy,” in A Companion to Roman Love Elegy, edited by Barbara K. Gold Place (Oxford: Blackwell Year, 2012). 

Joanna Kenty, “Avenging Lucretia: From Rape to Revolution,” Eidolon (November 20, 2017). [Addresses Livy’s depiction of Lucretia in particular]

Genevieve Liveley, “33. Teaching Rape in Roman Elegy,” in A Companion to Roman Love Elegy, edited by Barbara K. Gold Place (Oxford: Blackwell Year, 2012). 

Roberta Mazza, “Silencing the Naiads: Why the Manchester Art Gallery’s performance is not making a favour to women,” Faces and Voices (February 3, 2018). [Addresses the myth of Hylas and the recent removal of the Hylas and the Nymphs by J.W. Waterhouse from the Manchester Art Gallery]

Nghiem L. Nguyen, “Roman Rape: An Overview of Roman Rape Laws from the Republican Period to Justinian ‘s Reign,” Michigan Journal of Gender & Law 13.1 (2006). [A source for primary citations in Roman legal texts regarding sexual assault]

Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Fiona Mchardy, From Abortion to Pederasty: Addressing Difficult Topics in the Classics Classroom. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2014. Particularly: Sharon James, “Talking Rape in the Classics Classroom: Further Thoughts

Katy Waldman, “Reading Ovid in the Age of #MeToo,” The New Yorker (February 12, 2018). [Addresses Ovid in particular]

Donna Zuckerberg, “How to Teach an Ancient Rape Joke,” Jezebel (May 26, 2015). [Addresses the myth of the Cyclops, but also Io, Medea, Europa, et al.]

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 5.13.40 AM
“The Abduction of Europa,” from Pompeii. Caption via the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli: “The fresco in the III Pompeian style, which dates to around 20-25 AD, was discovered in the oecus (banqueting-hall) of the House of Jason in Pompeii on July 7th , 1878” (Image via the MANN).

Biblical and Early Christian History: 

Sarah Emanuel, “When Women of the Bible Say #MeToo,” Feminist Studies in Religion (January 26, 2018). [Addresses the subject of Jezebel and the Book of Revelation in particular]

Rhiannon Graybill, “Teaching about Sexual Violence in the Hebrew Bible,” Oxford Biblical Studies Online [Addresses a number of instances of sexual violence in the Old Testament]

Caroline Kubzansky, “Div School Professor Refutes New Testament Justification for Sexual Harassment of Teens,” The Chicago Maroon (November 21, 2017) and “Bible Scholars Take Issue With Moore’s Defender” [Addresses Prof. Margaret M. Mitchell’s (U. of Chicago Divinity School) comments about the ages of Mary and Joseph]

Avram Mlotek, “MeToo Stories Are As Old As The Bible Itself,” Forward.com (January 10, 2018). [A good look at Hebrew Bible instances such as Abraham to King David]

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.46.47 AM
“Susanna and the Elders,” Domenico di Michelino (1460/1475), Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (Google Arts and Culture).

Medieval History: 

Lisa Bitel, “What a medieval love saga says about modern-day sexual harassment.” The Conversation (January 16, 2018). [Addresses the “love” affair between Abelard and Heloise in particular]

Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, “#MeToo in Persian poetry,” Leiden Medievalists Blog (November 24, 2017). [Addresses sexual harassment in medieval Islamic literature]

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality, Volume 53, Number 1 (2017) Microaggressions, Harassment, and Abuse–Medieval and Modern.

Front Matter, Medieval Feminist Forum, Microaggressions, Harassment, and Abuse—Medieval and Modern p. 1-3


Hidden in Plain Sight p. 114-130
Kate Kelsey Staples 

Contributors p. 202-204

As usual with my bibliographies, I invite you to add to the list in the comments section below. This is but a small sample of work written on these issues, but it is a starting place for us and perhaps for our students, children, and relatives.

Sarcophagus with the abduction of Persephone by Hades (3rd c. CE, Walters Art Museum, CC0).

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