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CALL. 30.09.2020: [PANEL 8] "Single-parent families in Antiquity. Between law and social practi




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Coimbra (Coimbra, Portugal)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: ​​Rosa María Cid López (University of Oviedo) ; Lidia González Estrada (University of Oviedo) ; Julia Guantes García

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This panel proposes the study of single parent families, that is, which are headed by a single progenitor, in the area of ​​the ancient Mediterranean (Eastern Europe, Greece and Rome). The nuclear family model in Antiquity seems closely associated with the urban population and gives rise to the emergence of the bases for the transmission of citizenship rights and the control of patrimony. However, other alternative models of families that have only the mother, the father or other relatives also emerged in contraposition to the traditional model. The existence of alternative family groups is perceived both in religious and mythical discourses and in historical reality, and affects all social groups, not just the urban population. Especially relevant are families deprived of citizenship rights, who were more vulnerable due to their lack of legal protection.

Firstly, based on these considerations, the normative discourses on the family, with special attention to the regulation of single-parent groups in the urban population, as well as the causes that bring them about (death, absence, abandonment, divorce…), and the legitimation strategies that they develop in a society in which they can be considered “outside the norm” should be analysed. On the other hand, we will also try to delve into the dynamics that affect the servile groups, those who are especially vulnerable.

Different sources -epigraphy, literature, iconography and legal texts- will be analysed and we will start from a multidisciplinary vision that includes History, Law and Philology. In general, we will try to reflect on the contributions of the extraordinary works of K.R. Bradley (Discovering the Roman Family: Studies in Roman Social History, 1991), S. Treggiari (Roman Marriage. Iusti coniuges from the time of Cicero to the time of Ulpian, 1991) or C. Fayer (La Familia Romana. Aspetti giuridici ed antiquari, 2005) in which the characteristics of the nuclear family were explained, but also on other more recent works such as B. Rawson (A Companion of Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds, 2010) or M. Sánchez Romero y R. Cid López (Motherhood and Infancies in the Mediterranean in Antiquity, 2018). In this way, without underestimating the importance and topicality of their claims, a possible review will also be addressed.

The main lines of work proposed are diverse yet focused on the analysis of single-parent families in Antiquity from a multidisciplinary perspective. In the first place, we propose the analysis of religious discourses and myths, which we consider one of the first elements that reflects a disruptive family model. We also believe it is essential to work from a gender perspective, which addresses the different ways in which the concepts of motherhood and fatherhood are constructed and the different filial relationships. Special attention will be devoted to Law and the marital status of the individual; thus, marriage, cohabitation or widowhood are key to understanding many of the dynamics that affect single-parent families. Without a doubt, the existence of unequal family groups and even some that can only be described as single parents in the eyes of the law can be perceived in the legal field. Finally, other situations of a social and moral nature play a very important role, such as adultery, solidarity and care networks -which are created to replace the lack of one of the parents- or the rules that govern and organise intrafamily relations, like pietas.

For all these reasons and for this panel, we propose the following lines of research:

  • Myths, legends and religious speeches in which single-parent families appear.

  • Laws and the regulation of single parents.

  • Causes of the breakdown of family groups: divorce, death, adultery, etc.

  • Single-parent families with no-citizen rights and their peculiarities.

  • Maternity / Paternity. Differences in the construction of parental models according to gender.

  • Maternofilial or paternofilial relationships in single parents.

  • Emergence of solidarity and care networks.

  • Difficulties and conflicts of single-parent families of a legal, economic or social nature.

Contact and Deadlines

Paper presentations can be delivered in Portuguese, English, French or Spanish. They must be original works that have neither been published nor presented before. Interested speakers should send an abstract of their proposal (250 words) and contact information before 12 PM September 30th, 2020, to the following address:

Abstracts should have:

- Title of communication

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- Abstracts (max 250 words)

- Keywords (5 to 10 words)

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