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Women and the fourth century BC athenian courts: discourse, representation and social experience

Grant number: 17/10189-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Norberto Luiz Guarinello
Grantee:Aline Saes Rodrigues
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Through a selection of forensic discourses from the so-called Attic orators, in the context of the Athenian courts of the fourth century BC, our research is based upon two main fields of study: the historiography of the ancient city, with the emerging study of the polis and its inhabitants, observing the issue from the point of view of citizens and non-citizens (foreign men and women, athenian women, slaves); And the study of the relations between men and women as socially determined categories, the Gender History. Therefore, we aim for the relations between men and women, between city and inhabitants, as well as the ideologies that surround and construct them, avoiding a "historical segregation" of woman and a simplistic vision of the Athenian polis. In the context of the Athenian polis and the situation of the Others - slaves, foreigners, women and children - within the context of democracy, we will observe new theoretical forms for analysis of rhetorical discourse, formulation of city models and meanings for the polis and its laws. Also the construction of social relations through the ideological discourse presented in such documents, and how this could be reflected in the social experience related to the women of Athens.Contrary to characteristics of the polis such as Vernant's "spiritual universe" (1972) and Meier's "political way of being" (1995), it is sought to bring forth a model of Ancient City in which work and politics, oikos and polis, are not so clearly separated. Starting from a look at the daily life of the Ancient City - not in its notion of common or domestic life, but as social practices within the inhabited city - a search is sought, beyond ideological controls, for a history of non Citizens, more specifically women.The idea is to broaden the notion of female participation beyond the court space, or rather, to consider the use of the female word in the speaker's argument, regardless of whether the word was spoken in the context of the trial or not. Using the concept of "rhetorical credibility" and "verisimilitude", we will include both oaths and references to women's speech by speakers. Observing how the feminine word appears and how it is used and received within the context of the court, even if it has not been made within that context; These are not directly female voices, but it is closer to social practice than the representations from philosophers.The central documents of our research will be the discourses Demosthenes 27-30, 41, 57 and [D.] 59, Isaeus 3, 8 and 11, Antiphon I and Lysias 1. All these discourses bring fundamental elements to the study of the idealization present in the rhetoric of the Athenian Courts and will be analyzed from the dispositions of the parts of the discourse: proem, narrative, proof and conclusion. However, excerpts from other speeches may be used to reinforce or refute passages from fundamental sources. The absence of women - especially those considered respectable - in the courts, does not exclude their voices and their representations in varied roles, as Gagarin (1998) affirms.We will have as guiding element the hypothesis that ideologies about women are first created and reiterated by masculine discourses, that is, by the citizens, and, in addition, in a context of a democratic polis that was not made only of politai. Thus, the dichotomy formal / real democracy contemplates the Athenian daily life in the same way as the dicothomy discourse / experience within the speeches of attic speakers of the fourth century BC. It is from such hypotheses that we intend an analysis of women in the context of the city and polis Athens in the fourth century BC, of its democracy and beyond, through the rhetorical speeches of attic orators. (AU)

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(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
RODRIGUES, Aline Saes. Women and the fourth century Athenian law-courts: discourse, representation and social experience. 2020. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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