Kathy Gaca

Posted on November 19th, 2010 by

(This is a bit late–apologies)

Professor Kathy Gaca from Vanderbilt University delivered a talk entitled “Warfare Beyond the Battle in Classical Antiquity” at Gustavus on Thursday, October 21st.

Her talk challenged the dominant notion of warfare as armed man-to-man violence, looking instead at practices that attacked women and girls.
Professor Gaca is a nationally renowned scholar of women and gender in antiquity, whose work often draws important connections between the
experiences of women in antiquity to those of modern times.  Her most recent book, *The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity, was awarded the Classical Association of the Midwest and South’s Outstanding Publication Award.  Her work is characterized by a rigorous approach to ancient literary and visual sources, fusing meticulous linguistic analyses with cultural studies.

Her talk was a searing reminder of the ways in which studying past events from the comfortable distance of 2,000-3,000 years can lead us to sometimes overlook the very real experiences of men, women, and children during wartime–especially with regard to sexual assault and the military uses of emotional trauma.  Similarly, she demonstrated how a deeper knowledge and understanding of the past can provide a framework for understanding the atrocities, both sexual and non-sexual, being committed today in war-torn countries.  The scope of her study underlines the magnitude of warfare’s consequences and thus heightens the urgency with which we must begin to address the problem.

The talk was attended by students and teachers of the Departments of Classics, English, Religion, and Political Science, as well as the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Peace Studies Program.

 

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