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ACS Convocation Series

Virtual Event

February 16, 2021 @ 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EST

Believing Ancient Women: Gendering Knowledge and Experience in [Aescylus’] Prometheus Bound

Dr. Mary Hamil Gilbert, Birmingham-Southern College

View the recording of the event below.

Prometheus Bound, composed by Aeschylus or a near contemporary, has long been considered an extended meditation on the limits of knowledge and power. Less attention, however, has been devoted to the way gender intersects with, complicates, and even shapes that discourse. This talk explores the dynamics of knowledge production and narrative authority in Prometheus Bound through the lens of contemporary philosophical work on epistemic injustice, defined as unfair discrimination based on prejudices about the knower’s identity (e.g. Lorraine Code, Miranda Fricker, Gaile Pohlhaus) and, more particularly, epistemic resistance, defined as the use of epistemic resources to undermine, challenge, even alter an established authority (e.g. Aida Hurtado, José Medina, Walter Mignolo). This analysis will aim to acknowledge the pivotal role the Oceanids play in making space for Io to tell her own story and to reclaim their participation in guiding the conversation as a mode of knowledge production. Building on the implications of these readings, Dr. Gilbert suggests that Io’s human and female positionality facilitates the chorus’ ultimate decision to reject their father’s epistemic authority and stand in solidarity with Prometheus and humanity.

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