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New Approaches to Slavery and Sex in the Pompeian Household

October 28, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

How can we overcome the lapses and misrepresentations that characterize ancient evidence in general, but especially evidence about enslaved individuals and other groups on the margins of societies? In this talk, I offer Saidiya Hartman’s (2007, 2008, 2016; cf. 2019) methodology of critical fabulation—used by her to give voice to enslaved individuals on the trans-Atlantic slave route—as a way forward, applying it to the case of a homeborn slave at Pompeii named Eutychis whose sexual services were advertised in the entranceway to her enslaver’s house. Ultimately, this methodology allows us to challenge the self-professed tenderness of enslavers towards their homeborn slaves, illuminating the complex physical, social, and emotional landscapes that enslaved individuals negotiated on a daily basis.

Bio:Sarah Levin-Richardson is an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Washington, Seattle. An alumna of the Stanford Archaeology Center (Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology 2009), she is the author of The Brothel of Pompeii: Sex, Class, and Gender at the Margins of Roman Society (Cambridge 2019).

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Archaeology Center
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