79 carolynn/connie’s reflection

With this course I wanted to appreciate my own experience with gender and sexuality in differing light, informed by ancient greek understanding of those concepts and the way that understanding and my own understanding of those concepts relate historically. I feel like I achieved this goal quite nicely, and I feel like a lot of powerful constructs and systems surrounding sexuality and gender were constructed as we read the works and decosntructed as we talked about them, and gave me a really fascinating perspective on how so much of our present understanding of gender and sexuality both informs and is informed by the understanding we have of the ancient greek systems of gender and sexuality. It felt really wonderful to relate Greek people and their heroes to a modern understanding of these ideas, and also deconstruct how those same Greek people were poorly characterized in the past, and how they may even be poorly characterized in the present. Learning about the dubious origins of many artifacts of Greek culture over the past century and the way those dubious artifacts relate to modern perceptions of gender was a particularly interesting moment for me in terms of reframing my understanding of history and how we in the year 2021 relate to it.

I also wanted to make friends with other people who were approaching these concepts as well. I feel like I achieved this goal soundly, especially with the folks of my study-group who were some of the most fantastic people I could have shared a course with. As I mentioned in my author introduction, I’m returning to college from a pretty long leave of absence, and having such a vibrant and beautiful group of people to talk about ancient Greece and queerness with was a true blessing.

So in this manner I believe I have definitely achieved the goals of creating a learning community, and using this learning community to understand how ancient Greek works inform our present construction of sexuality and gender, especially as reflected in media.

I also feel like I’m a stubborn person, so it took me a while to interrogate some of my biases in this course regarding sexuality and gender. I’m very queer and it’s very easy as a result to try and find idols or find reflections of my own identity in places that might not hold such clear reflections; casting my own self into the past. This course, with Jody’s guidance in particular, was extremely helpful in making sure my ability to find queerness in the past was informed and encouraged by history and not wholly in spite of it.

Lastly, this course definitely made me feel encouraged to not just approach this subject as a scholar but also to enable me to approach gender and sexuality in the past and present, ancient Greece in the past and present, and the relationship between the two as a tool for affecting the future. I felt so lovingly encouraged to speak with my own voice and think in revolutionary fashions, and it ultimately was an extremely empowering experience that even right now makes me want to tell new stories and approach my community more closely.

I really really loved this course. Thanks for having me here a second time. I don’t have a poem here today because I don’t think my cup is full quite yet, but it’s when it brims it will be with ideas about light and love and queerness and bittersweetness, with little visions of great dark oceans and crowns of flowers and rivers embracing cities. It’ll be full with aspirations towards a community of love that knows where it is; that can see clearly and honestly the land it stands on and the moment it’s in.


Gender & Sexuality in Ancient Greece Copyright © by Jody Valentine. All Rights Reserved.

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