History, News

Introducing our new series: Women in Ancient Cultures

Liverpool University Press is delighted to announce a new series in ancient history, encompassing all women from all ancient cultures, and all areas of the world, from approximately 4000 BCE to 800 CE. Led by Series Editors Virginia Campbell, Amy Gansell, Greg Gilles, Irene Salvo, Rebecca Usherwood and Lewis Webb, it will publish monographs and edited volumes. The Series Editors set out their thoughts on the raison d’être for the series and its potential:

Irene Salvo: “Ancient authors and modern scholars alike have forgotten to include past women in historiographical discourses. Notwithstanding decades of women’s and gender studies, scholars still tend to think that the household or fertility rites are the best places to locate a history of women. WAC will show how women shaped all kind of human interactions and belonged to every aspect of social, political, and cultural life. Moreover, it will challenge a Eurocentric notion of antiquity, hosting works on ancient women across the globe—from the Mediterranean to Asia, from Africa to the Americas and beyond.”

Amy Gansell: “WAC brings global context to the study of ancient women, as it places their histories on the world stage and infuses the story of human civilization with the women who were part of it from the very beginning. It is great to see an antiquity series that does not use Classical cultures as its centre or starting point, but embraces the earliest civilizations, from the ancient Near East to China.”

Lewis Webb: “The study of women in ancient cultures is long and storied. Landmark studies over the last century have greatly expanded our collective knowledge of women’s lives and roles in the ancient world. Despite this rich body of research, there are few publication venues devoted to the subject. Our new series aims to build on these prior studies by creating an interdisciplinary space for academics and educators to share the latest research on women, broadly and inclusively defined, from all cultures of the ancient world. A key unifying theme for our series is ‘female agency’, that is, the ability of women to be effective social agents under, and against, conditions of oppression. Our primary point of departure is that women were relationally embedded and integrated in various cultural systems: ancient cultures necessarily involved women.”

Rebecca Usherwood: “What excites me the most about our new series is how it combines two aspects that are crucial to the future of the study of the ancient world. First, it places women and gender, a hugely rich research area but one which can still be structurally marginalised in contemporary academia, right at the centre of discussion. Second, by embracing a world-wide outlook, it breaks down notions of antiquity which centre on concepts of ‘western civilisation’. Seeing the range of topics in conversation with one another in this series will broaden horizons and spark so many new ideas.”

Virginia Campbell: “Recent scholarship has employed methodologies that examine women’s lives and agency with context and comparanda that are not based on the historical ideas and moral judgements that so often influence and sway studies of women and gender in antiquity, but on the actual evidence. This series offers a place where this approach can become the norm instead of the deviation from traditional gender studies, allowing for a more comprehensive, logical, and accurate study of the ways in which women lived and participated in ancient societies at all times and in all places.”

Greg Gilles: “I couldn’t be prouder of starting this new series with LUP. WAC aims to bring together current research on women throughout the ancient world, and having such a broad geographical and temporal scope will allow for more aspects of these women’s lives to be discussed. It’s about time there was a book series dedicated to the study of all ancient women.”

Commissioning Editor Clare Litt said “we are so pleased to be working with the dynamic team driving this series, including the large editorial board which reflects the wide geographical and temporal coverage of the series. Creating a platform for studies on women from all ancient cultures is an exciting prospect.”

Further information on the series, including the proposal submission process, can be found on our website.