30 July 2001

Antique Sexualities - sex and the ancient Graeco-Roman world - will be discussed at a University of Queensland seminar on August 2 at the University's St Lucia campus.

The panel seminar, organised by the University's Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, will be in room 388, Goddard Building (building 8) from 4pm to 6pm. It will be chaired by Centre director Professor Graeme Turner.

Panel presenters include reader in Classics and Ancient History at UQ Dr Suzanne Dixon; lecturer in the Classics Department at the University of Reading, Dr Alastair Blanshard; and UQ PhD student Ricky Tunny.

Dr Dixon will discuss The allure of la dolce vita in ancient Rome: the desiring woman as sign. She will examine the "wicked women of imperial Rome" and discuss the decline of Rome and the concept of women and sex as indicators of this decline.

She will review the decline of narrative, and, through a study of particular images, suggests that classical scholars, too, prefer a strong narrative to the more likely uncertainties of post-modern revisionism.

Dr Blanshard's paper, Gazing into Hellas: Symonds, aesthetics, desire and the politics of reception, looks at the birth of sexology and the formation of gay identity.

"The pairing of Hellenism and homosexuality proved to be a particularly productive union in the late Victorian world," he said. His paper raises questions about how well we "know" the classical past, Victorian Britain or categories of sexual identity.

Mr Tunny's paper examines the controversial subject: Pure love or puer love: boy-love as derivative literary device or Roman lifestyle?

"The desire for beautiful ?boys' has often been regarded as a ?norm' of dominant Roman men," he said. His paper will examine the literary constructs of "boys" to ascertain cultural ideals about acceptable same-sex activities and their degree of approval.

- Dr Dixon's research interests include the history of the family, childhood and work and political women. Recent work includes ancient constructions of sexuality and the body and she has published widely on all these topics.

- Dr Blanshard recently completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge on the inter-relationship between law, rhetoric and Athenian citizen identity.

- Mr Tunny is currently working on a PhD Thesis at UQ, entitled Invective against Deviant Masculine Constructions in Republican and Imperial Rome.

Seminar details are available at http://arts.uq.edu.au/cccs/events/seminars.html

Media: For further information, contact:
o Dr Suzanne Dixon, telephone (W)(07) 3365 2191, (H) (07) 3844 0307.
o Dr Alastair Blanshard (W) c/- (07) 3365 2643 (H) c/- (07) 3358 3284 or 54 481 810.
o Mr Ricky Tunny (W) (07) 3365 3031 Mobile: 0414 654 485.