Today I received an email from an old friend, Susan Deacy, reminding me that today was the 20th anniversary of the conference we organised together back when we were postgraduate students. Violence and Power: An International Symposium on Rape in Antiquity brought together an international group of academics and postgraduates, and was held in the University of Wales College of Cardiff (now Cardiff University) on 19th November 1994. I was researching an M. Phil on gender relations in Greek New Comedy, at Cardiff and Susan was working on her Ph.D. on Athena, at Lampeter. I seem to recall that we had been instrumental in holding a series of postgraduate seminars bringing together researchers in Wales who were studying Classics, Ancient History, and even Egyptology, and out of this seminar series had emerged the idea for a one day conference. We had some wonderful speakers, and were able to eventually publish most of the proceedings in a book which we co-edited: Rape in Antiquity: Sexual violence in the Greek and Roman worlds, published in hardback by the Classical Press of Wales in 1997, and in paperback with an updated introduction by Duckworth in 2002. A quick look on Amazon has just revealed to me that it is now also available on Kindle (news to me!).
Susan briefly blogged about this anniversary, which has prompted me to do the same. She noted that she has one of the conference posters up on her wall; and while I haven’t done this, I am pretty sure I have the programme and a copy of the poster somewhere at home. (Although I admit that I used to have a framed copy of a review of the book on the wall until the frame was broken).
One memory of the day; it was nerve-wracking and exciting organising a conference for the first time, and from the very start I felt as if I had stepped upon a roller coaster from which there was no getting off. As well as organisers, we were both also speakers, and I also filled in for another speaker who was unable to reach us. Their paper involved two slide projectors (none of your modern day powerpoints or prezis!), which made for some complicated timings. All in all though, the day was a success.
It is hard to believe that twenty years have passed, and I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision in leaving academia and becoming a librarian instead. As a postgraduate, both during my M.Phil and my Ph.D. there was an excitement and an energy behind my work, and I got to meet some fantastic people who were working on a whole range of research areas within Classics/Ancient History, many of whom are now Professors and Senior Lecturers at Universities across the country.
So, today I am feeling old, but have some great memories of a day of stimulating papers and discussions. Thanks for the memories Susan!