‘How could a city become straight?’ Aristophanes and the trans foundations of the comic state

Ruffell, I. (2022) ‘How could a city become straight?’ Aristophanes and the trans foundations of the comic state. In: Haselswerdt, E., Lindheim, S. and Ormand, K. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Classics and Queer Theory. Routledge. (In Press)

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Abstract

This chapter shows how the Athenian democracy of the fifth and early fourth centuries rooted its own sense of identity in gender diversity, and that this is explicitly foregrounded in Greek drama, especially the Old Comedy of Aristophanes and others. The terms in which this is is done invites a reading through a queer and specifically trans lens. After a methodological discussion that situates trans history and theory in the context of feminist and queer theory, the chapter proceeds to demonstrate how reconfigurations of the Athenian state in Old Comedy are not only unable to escape from these trans elements but root their explorations in them. The most powerful exoression of this phenomenon is to be seen in the plays in which the organisation and conduct of the city is challenged or remade by women. These plays rely upon the socially and discursively constructed nature of gender, sex and sexuality, and dispute or overthrow the city's norms. Yet they are in fact drawing on the city's own sense of its self: even in its most radical transformations, this city is always trans.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:In Press
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruffell, Professor Isabel
Authors: Ruffell, I.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Publisher:Routledge

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