Seminar with Valentina Moro: “Staging gender in Antiquity: why is this archive still crucial for feminist theory? The case of the study of kinship”

“The research project I worked on at CAS SEE focuses on feminist discourses and methodologies. In this seminar presentation, I discussed several contributions in the research field of Gender in Antiquity, which are significantly relevant for their feminist methodology. This links my research as a fellow in Rijeka and my previous work, insofar as I have a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and, in my Ph.D. dissertation, I have analysed several Greek tragedies from a political perspective. On the one hand, my aim is to demonstrate why such an archive was and still is so important for scholars such as Judith Butler, Adriana Cavarero, and Bonnie Honig (whose work I will refer to, among others’). On the other, I will insist on a specific methodological approach in the study of gender in Antiquity, which analyses kinship ties as being agonistically constructed in the characters’ speeches.
From the 1970s onwards, many scholars in both fields of Political theory and Classics have been referring to the Greek tragedies, calling into question the idea of gender. The political relevance of their analysis is related to the way in which each of them problematized the theatricality of the representation of gender in the Greek sources. I am particularly interested in several scholars who focused on female characters in ancient literary sources by analysing the network of relationships in which they are embedded – and especially kinship relationships.
For instance, Victoria Wohl evokes Deleuze and Guattari’s critique to the traditional interpretation of kinship ties and gender roles as fixed structures, hierarchically depending on the figure of the Father. Judith Butler investigates the specificity of kinship ties and problematizes whether they are constitutive relationships deeply rooted within a political community or whether they depend on an authoritative narration (which requires a validation). And so on.
Which are the specific feminist approaches these scholars deployed in analysing the Greek tragedy? If we aim to reconsider the history of the political concepts from a feminist perspective, which is the possible contribution of the research on gender in Antiquity?”

Valentina Moro obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Padua (Italy) in 2018. In 2016 and 2017 she was a visiting research fellow at Brown University (USA). Her research intersects the fields of political theory, classics and gender studies. Currently, she is a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe at the University of Rijeka (Croatia) and at the Istituto italiano per gli studi filosofici in Naples (Italy). She co-edited the book Polis, Erōs, Parrēsia. Letture etico-politiche contemporanee della tragedia greca (Padova University Press, 2018) and she is a member of the editorial board of the journal Materiali foucaultiani.

Seminar with Valentina Moro was held at the University campus in Rijeka in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows on December 6, 2019.