Event Title

Pushing the Limit: An Analysis of the Women of the Severan Dynasty

Graduation Year

2015

Location

Room E102, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

18-4-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

18-4-2015 11:00 AM

Description

Women of the ancient world are frequently characterized by their lack of independence and legal rights. It is therefore often surprising for scholars when they begin to study the women of the imperial Roman families and discover the level of autonomy and self-governance that these women appear to have enjoyed. Applying Judith Butler’s theory that actions create identity, this presentation will study the actions of the imperial women of the Severan dynasty and the ways in which they both obeyed and defied typical gender constructs in order to determine the identities of the Severan empresses. After clarifying who the women were, I will then utilize Butler’s theories of identity to explain why the Severan women were able to act in ways contrary to traditional Roman gender roles. By applying Butler’s theories of identity to the Severan women, which postulate the ways in which identity is formed and defined, as well as the ways in which various identities interact, this presentation will prove that while the Severan women had many identities, their imperial identity was most esteemed due to its ability to give them the freedom to step outside many aspects of their gender role and to behave in ways which would customarily be deemed inappropriate.

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Apr 18th, 10:00 AM Apr 18th, 11:00 AM

Pushing the Limit: An Analysis of the Women of the Severan Dynasty

Room E102, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Women of the ancient world are frequently characterized by their lack of independence and legal rights. It is therefore often surprising for scholars when they begin to study the women of the imperial Roman families and discover the level of autonomy and self-governance that these women appear to have enjoyed. Applying Judith Butler’s theory that actions create identity, this presentation will study the actions of the imperial women of the Severan dynasty and the ways in which they both obeyed and defied typical gender constructs in order to determine the identities of the Severan empresses. After clarifying who the women were, I will then utilize Butler’s theories of identity to explain why the Severan women were able to act in ways contrary to traditional Roman gender roles. By applying Butler’s theories of identity to the Severan women, which postulate the ways in which identity is formed and defined, as well as the ways in which various identities interact, this presentation will prove that while the Severan women had many identities, their imperial identity was most esteemed due to its ability to give them the freedom to step outside many aspects of their gender role and to behave in ways which would customarily be deemed inappropriate.