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Historian to speak at Buffalo Humanities Festival
Friday, September 04, 2015

Historian to speak at Buffalo Humanities Festival

Dr. John Arnold

Dr. John Arnold of the Department of History will present the talk, "The Real Eunuchs of Constantinople," on Friday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. in Ketchum Hall Room 111 on the State University of New York at Buffalo campus.

The talk is part of the 2015 Buffalo Humanities Festival, which runs from Sept. 23 to 26.

Dr. Arnold will address the topic of eunuchs, who formed a visible and powerful group in ancient Constantinople. He explained that castrated men held high political and military positions even though deprived of the prime markers of male authority, the ability to penetrate and impregnate. As such, eunuchs stood opposed to the uncut male bodies that normally wielded power. Eunuchs were dangerously exposed to political opponents who construed their absent genitalia as signs of femininity and who used misogynistic language to marginalize eunuchs as “queer.”

The 2015 Buffalo Humanities Festival will attempt to answer the question: are we bound by gender? The festival will be filled with presentations, performances, and conversations through history, art, literature, and music about the topic of gender.

Interested persons can view the full program at

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