Gender has now become a pervasive topic in the humanities and social sciences. Yet despite the popularity of gender studies both inside and outside the academy, some have argued that the radical debates which first characterised gender studies have lost their critical edge. Brooke Holmes here rescues ancient ideas about sex and gender with an eye towards reinvigorating contemporary debate. She argues that modern engagements with classical antiquity have shaped the conversation about sex, gender and sexuality over the past decades. Her short, lively book offers the first account of how ancient Greek and Roman ideas have influenced the development of gender as a modern and postmodern concept, and how gender's popularity has shaped the way we read evidence from the ancient Greco-Roman past. By re-examining ancient notions of sexual difference, bodies, culture and identity, Holmes shows that Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicureans and others force us to reassess what is at stake in present-day discussions about gender. The ancient world is thus seen to provide a vital resource for modern gender studies, prompting new strategies of interpretation.
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