QUEER INCARNATIONS OF ROMAN CHARITY: THE POLITICS AND EROTICS OF BREASTFEEDING

This interdisciplinary volume gathers contributions that analyze the theme of Roman Charity and its queer appropriations, reflecting upon nonnormative breastfeeding as an expression of queer desire. So far, little academic attention has been paid to Roman Charity, which was a well-known topic in medieval literature and Renaissance art, reaching a peak of popularity in the Baroque. Various authors from antiquity mention the story of the breastfeeding daughter as an extraordinary example of “filial piety”: Pero, a young girl, secretly breastfeeds her own father, Cimon, an old man accused of a capital crime and condemned to death by starvation in prison. A twin anecdote told by Valerius Maximus tells of a Roman woman who breastfeeds her own mother. Despite its alleged moralizing intention, the story has a troubling effect. By clandestinely nourishing their parents with their own milk, Pero and the young Roman daughter transgress the boundaries that are usually assigned to the transmission of this liquid. The numerous visual representations of this scene harbor a potential for ironic subversion due to their strong erotic address. The theme recently reemerged in literature and the arts: in one of Hélène Cixous’s recent fictions, a lactation scene, inspired by Rubens’s painting, takes place between the narrator and her sick mother. As in Maximus’s anecdote, the daughter becomes the nurse or nurturer of her own mother. In Jesus Herrera Martínez’s artworks, both the nurse and the recipient of the milk appear as male versions of his artistic self.

Please send 2,000–2,500-sign abstracts, along with a bibliographical note, in French or English, to Sarah-Anaïs Crevier Goulet (sirogh55@hotmail.com), Maribel Peñalver Vicea (mi.penalver@ua.es), Jutta Sperling (jsperling@hampshire.edu), and Mireille Calle-Gruber (mireille.calle-gruber@univ-paris3.fr) before 15 October 2018. Notification will be sent to submitters by 30 October 2018.