105 Workshop Eleven: What’s Love Got To Do with It?

  1. General Instructions & Checking-In (10 minutes)

For this workshop, you’ll be assigned to a Zoom Breakout Room with a group of approximately four students.  Once you have landed in your Breakout Room, please begin by reading over the workshop and checking-in with one another.  Please select a facilitator/time-keeper.  You won’t need a designated scribe today; everyone should take notes and be prepared to participate in the post-workshop discussion.
Please call the faculty in for support or guidance as needed.


  1. Speaking of Eros: 30 minutes

Room 1:   Phaedrus & Pausanias

Camille, Connnie, Cy, Jayda, & Rinny

Room 2:   Aristophanes & Agathon

Philip, Adi, Angie, Miranda, & Peeper

Room 3:  Socrates & Diotima

Juliana, Kate F., Kate S., Lauren, and Sarah

For this part of the Workshop, please focus on your assigned speech(es).  When we reconvene, we will conduct our student-led seminar in three acts — each third will center one or two speeches and be spearheaded by, but in no way limited to, members of the designated workshop group.

Allot 5-7 minutes to each of the first three prompts and 10 or so minutes to the fourth.

  • First, please work together to summarize the ideas presented in your assigned speech(es). What are the two or three most important elements of each speech?
  • Discuss and try to answer: What are you able to glean from each about ideas and practices related to sex, gender, and sexuality in 5th-4th century Athens?
  • What might be problematic about using this text as a source for the study of history of sexuality in ancient Greece?
  • What questions arose for you while reading, discussing, and now reconsidering the speech(es)? What are you curious about?  Please develop one question, linked to a specific passage from the text, that you’d be keen to discuss further.


  1. What’s philosophy got to do with it? (30 minutes)


Plato’s Symposium isn’t much of a symposium: συμπόσιον in Greek translates literally as “drinking together” and refers to gatherings with drinking, eating, music, poetry recitations, and sex.  But here, the flute girl was banished and they’ve made a pact to drink only in moderation.  There’s no sex and no poetry.  What if Plato has it wrong?  Maybe Eros cannot be properly celebrated through discursive philosophy.  Perhaps poetry or music are better suited to expressing what love is (and whatever sexuality is, for that matter).  Please reflect independently five minutes to recall a song or poem that you would offer as your contribution to a symposium on love/Love/Eros.  Perhaps the song or poem resonates with themes from Plato’s Symposium or maybe it beautifully or ironically expresses something essential about what love means to you.  After a few minutes of soul-searching on your own, please reconvene with your group and show your results.  (You may use the internet to find the songs or poems you have in mind.)  Discuss the various selections and choose ONE song to play or poem to read to the reconvened class today.  Prepare a brief description of why you selected this piece.  Please select one member from the group to present your selection — this doesn’t have to be the person who originally suggested it.



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

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