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Wood-cut paper painting of a Japanese scene.

Talks and events

Conversations on art, science, history and ancient cultures at Sydney's newest museum
Join leading academics and artists for talks, lectures and events, both online and in-person.
Broken sculpture of a woman's face

Metropolitan Museum of Art (26.7.1396)

‘Modern’ Women of the Past? Unearthing Gender and Antiquity

Event type: Online conference
Date and time: 5 – 6 March 2021
Tickets:  Free, registration essential 

Despite restrictions on their autonomy from the (mostly) patriarchal societies in which they lived, women of the past were astronomers, chemists, warriors, politicians, philosophers, and medical practitioners (to mention just a few examples). Women strove to understand the world around them, and through their observations and innovations, they demonstrated that gender provides no barrier to participating and excelling in a full range of human endeavours.

This conference sets out to tell the frequently neglected history of such women. It illuminates the remarkable historical contributions of the invisible pioneers of the past, and considers how a distorted perception of past women has shaped the realities and inequalities of our modern world. In the 21st century, a balanced representation of gender across a diverse range of societies and cultures remains a work in progress, and a more complete understanding of our past may remedy distorted perceptions of women’s capacities and contributions, both historically and as we move into the future.

The conference organisers invite abstracts (200 words max.) for papers of 15 minutes length. The conference timeframe is broadly imagined to include global women’s history and its reception, from prehistory to late antiquity. Diverse geographic, disciplinary, cultural, and conceptual responses to this theme are encouraged: calling on all disciplines ranging from archaeology to popular culture studies and everything in between. Pre-history and antiquity are defined globally, with an understanding of culturally and geographically diverse timescales, and we encourage responses from First Nations perspectives. Our theme of ‘women’ is intended to include trans and non-binary women, who are encouraged to participate in our exploration on the shaping of history through conceptions of gender.

Presented by: 
Chau Chak Wing Museum, The University of Sydney School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney Departments of Archaeology and Classics & Ancient HistoryAustralian Archaeological Institute at AthensCentre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of AustraliaAustralasian Women in Ancient World Studies

Featured image (top): Visitor on Level 3 of the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Photo: Brett Boardman.