The Cyprus-based interdisciplinary research project “Lactating Breasts: Motherhood and Breastfeeding in Antiquity and Byzantium” (, which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research and Innovation Foundation (project EXCELLENCE/1216/0020), warmly invites proposals for the concluding international conference of the project.

The conference will take place on 5-7 November 2021, at the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Cyprus | Nicosia, Cyprus.

The conference aims to further promote research on motherhood and breastfeeding. Papers are expected to focus around the investigation of the various aspects of the strong affinities between woman—as mother and wet nurse—and her lactating breast, as well as the social, ideological and medical meanings and uses of motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding, and their visual and literary representations from the Hellenistic to Byzantine eras. Suggested topics include, but are not restricted, to the following:

– the lactating woman’s social roles and identities in association with her legal and social status, as well as in relation with the network of her familial, kinship and other interpersonal relationships;

-the general ideology that surrounds and outlines the lactating woman’s imposed roles and defines the semantic value of her lactating breasts;

– the performativity of the maternal body and/or the lactating breast and the ways in which the bodily language of breastfeeding and motherhood interact with the ancient and Byzantine politics of womanhood’s embodiment;

– the dynamics between the rhetoric and semiology of the lactating breast and the larger sexual ideology of the given cultures;

– the relationship between the lactating woman and her environmental context;

– the literary, religious or artistic appropriation of the breastfeeding imagery as a metaphor;

– the typology, rhetoric, symbolisms, visual and narrative meanings and function of lactation or motherhood in different literary and artistic genres, as well as their reception;

– general health and medical practices and ideologies related to the lactating breast and/or motherhood;

– the conception and utilization of human milk by different ancient and Byzantine discourses.

We are open to various approaches, especially the ones which explore the interconnections between different methods and disciplines, such as Late Antique and Medieval Studies, Philology, Philosophy, Art History, Archaeology, History of Medicine, Sociology, Anthropology, Theology, and Gender and Performance Studies.

Presentations are expected to have a duration of 20 minutes and will be given in English. Selected papers will be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed volume co-edited by the organizers.

There is no registration fee, but speakers who are not members of the project’s research team will have to cover their travel and accommodation expenses.

Please send your title and abstract (about 300 words), as well as a short CV including your email and affiliation no later than the end of April 2021 to Stavroula Constantinou ([email protected]) or Aspasia Skouroumouni Stavrinou ([email protected]).

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by June 2021.