Event type
History of Sexuality
Event dates
, 5:15PM - 6:30PM
Online- via Zoom
Tom Sapsford (Bates College )
Email only

This talk explores how the gay underground came into contact with the typically establishmentarian field of classics. It will investigate the ways in which a series of gay male writers, filmmakers, performance artists, and activists working in the US and UK from the late 1970s to the mid 2000s subverted classical antiquity by presenting it as a dangerous terrain reminiscent of their own physical, economic, and political precarity. In particular, the talk will examine how William S. Burroughs incorporated writings by the ancient Greek and Roman historians into his own form of historiography, which he termed a 'magical theory of history', in his last three novels, the Red Night Trilogy, published at the beginning years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Tom Sapsford is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies at Bates College, Maine. He has published on dancers in Greco-Roman Egypt, contemporary dance adaptations of Homer’s Odyssey, and gender ambiguity in Powell and Pressburger’s film, The Tales of Hoffmann. Prior to working in academia, he was a professional dancer and choreographer.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.

Please note: a recording of this paper will be available to view on Professor Sapsford’s YouTube channel for 14 days before the seminar. Please do watch it in advance as the seminar will begin with some brief remarks from Tom before moving straight to questions and discussion.