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Image: Two Sisters by Per Krohg

Lyndsay Coo (University of Bristol / BSA Visiting Fellow), “New approaches to sisterhood in Greek tragedy”

Abstract: Greek tragedy contains numerous scenarios where the relationship between sisters is implicated in political action: these include the Danaids in Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women, Antigone and Ismene in Sophocles’ Antigone, and the Erechtheids in Euripides’ Erechtheus, to name just a few. However, many previous studies have glossed over the representation of sisterhood by assuming that it is marked by either contrast (e.g. between a ‘weaker’ and a ‘stronger’ sister), or by unquestioned female solidarity. This characterisation of sisterhood has come under scrutiny from work in family sociology, which has demonstrated that sisters’ relationships often involve complex ambiguous or negative emotions and practices; similarly, scholars in political theory have drawn attention to how sisters may model forms of political action that do not focus on a single heroic individual but rather involve conspiratorial, collaborative or covert forms of resistance. By drawing on approaches to sisterhood from disciplines outside of Classics, this lecture aims to shed new light on this under-studied familial relationship in Greek tragedy.

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Upper House Seminar
When: 12 December, 2022 @ 7:00 pm EET
Where: – –