UBC-UVic Day

Event: Online talk
Platform: Zoom, Sign up here

UBC – Tara Mulder – A Womb of One’s Own: Uterine Amulets in the Ancient Mediterranean
Respondent: Alycia MacIlroy

Abstract: In this talk, Dr. Mulder applies a feminist theoretical lens to the uterine amulets, a collection of over a hundred small, inscribed gemstones found throughout the Mediterranean and dating from the first through fourth centuries CE. Used and possibly produced by women, these gems allow us a unique view into magical-medical practices relating to human generation and reproduction in the time of the Roman Empire. In them we can see evidence for conditions such as the “wandering womb,” uterine suffocation, miscarriage, and abortion.

UVic – J. Geoffrey Kron – Ancient Multi-Culturalism & Modern Racism: Egypt in the Greco-Roman & American Imagination
Respondent: Graham Butler

Abstract: Decades before Bernal’s Black Athena ignited a firestorm of scholarly outrage in the United States, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in his brilliant 1939 analysis of African civilization, sociology and physical anthropology, Black Folk Then and Now: “Color was not important in ancient world, but it is of great economic and social importance today. Convincing proof of Negro blood in the Pharaohs was immaterial in 1900 B.C. and an almost revolutionary fact in 1900 A.D.” The prolonged campaign to extract Egyptian civilization from Africa and to erase its deep influence on the ancient Mediterranean world can only truly be understood if seen in its historical context as one of the earliest building blocks in the creation of a massive edifice of racist pseudo-science in the segregated elite Universities of the United States of the post-Reconstruction era. The fantasies of avowedly white supremacist scholars in the fields of Classics and Egyptology, like their colleagues in History, Sociology, Anthropology and Biology, among others, are less fascinating, however, than the reality of the multi-cultural world of Ptolemaic Egypt in which Egyptians, Greeks, Macedonians, Jews, Persians and many others created both fluid and multiple cultural identities for themselves, while building on and enriching the cultural traditions of one of the oldest and greatest African civilizations.

Please note: the Zoom session will be open half an hour in advance for informal chatting, and will remain open afterwards if anyone wants to stick around for an informal “virtual pub”