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Upcoming Events

September 20th, 2019 3:30-4:10pm

2019 Summit: A Community of Collaboration

Appalachian College Association

Using Graphic Novels to Teach Critical Social Issues 

Holly Hillgardner: Bethany College, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Christy Cobb: Wingate University, Assistant Professor of Religion


Graphic novels provide a unique opportunity for college students to think critically and empathetically about social issues. Many of us--across disciplinary boundaries--are interested in pedagogies that encourage students to become engaged and compassionate citizens of the world. In this presentation, professors from two different colleges collaborate to explore the uses of graphic novels across the curriculum. With the help of graphic novels, we aim to guide students as they wrestle with complex topics, such as gender, race, religion, sexuality and the environment, for example, as well as their crucial intersections. We hope to attract participants from all disciplines-not just the humanities- so we especially invite those in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and beyond to collaborate as we think together about using graphic novels.

November 25, 2019

 1pm - 3:30pm

Society of Biblical Literature National Conference

San Diego, CA

Section: Archaeology of Religion in the Roman World / LGBTI/Queer Hermeneutics

A Voice After Death: Gender, Class, and Sexuality on Ancient Funerary Monuments

One way that people from a broad range of social statuses in the ancient Greco-Roman world memorialized a deceased family member was through the creation and display of a funerary monument, or gravestone. On these monuments, we find depictions of men and women, both enslaved and free, as well as poignant inscriptions about the deceased. Analysis of this type of material culture informs our understanding of gender, class, and sexuality in the ancient world and can help us access perspectives unvoiced in literary texts crafted by male hands. In this paper, I will analyze several gravestones that depict enslaved women, unmarried women, and homoerotic relationships. Using queer historiography as my primary method through the work of Elizabeth Freeman and Madhavi Menon, I will situate these artifacts from the ancient world within an interpretation of biblical and apocryphal texts. Finally, I will consider questions such as: How do these funerary monuments portray relationships between enslaved persons and their enslavers? Do these memorials challenge or align with modern ideas about ancient sexuality and/or familial configurations? What are the ways in which ancient familial configurations, as illustrated on these monuments, anticipate contemporary queer visions of family?

May 28-31, 2020

Eighteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities

Johns Hopkins University

"A Tiny Boat has Carried Off your Daughter": Using Digital Humanities to Track the Geographical Movement of Female Protagonists in the Ancient Greek Novels


Christy Cobb, Wingate University, Wingate, NC

Charlie Goldberg, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN 


Abstract Text:



Female protagonists in ancient Greek novels are young, beautiful, educated, and independent. Yet, within the plots of these novels, almost all of the primary female characters are forced to leave their homes and male fiancés as a result of kidnapping, sea voyages, or enslavement. This type of solitary separation was unusual for unmarried women in the time these novels were written, the first three centuries of the Common Era. While men in texts often traveled and visited unknown locations, women rarely had that opportunity, both in life and in literature. Thus, female protagonists in the ancient Greek novels are taken to new parts of the world through unforeseen circumstances, and readers are introduced to new geography as a result of this literary trope.

In this digital poster session, we will use GIS technology to map key locations of major female characters in four out of the five Greek novels: Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon, Chariton’s Callirhoe, Xenophon’s An Ephesian Tale, and Heliodorus’ An Ethiopian Story. We focus on female characters’ movements and interactions in order to digitally illustrate the breadth of travel these characters experience and the diversity of landscapes presented to the reader. A visual illustration of the routes these women were forced to endure makes the separation from their home more tangible to the reader. We hope our session will be useful for showing scholars how digital tools can help analyze and conceptualize ancient texts, and also for showing Humanities instructors how to integrate digital technologies into the classroom.


Christy is available to speak at academic conferences and universities in addition to churches, retreats, and Bible studies. Contact her for more information.

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