Dr Ilona Chruściak

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Ilona Chruściak


Postdoctoral Fellow, January - May 2020

I graduated in classics from the University of Wroclaw. I completed my PhD thesis “The Function of Gesture in Oral Composition of the Iliad” in April 2019. My primary research interest are ancient epic, narrative strategies, oral tradition and literature and theory of non-verbal communication. Other interest of mine include Greek language (both Ancient and Modern Greek) and modern Greek culture. I am a member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research of Relations Between Oral and Written Tradition (University of Wroclaw).

Exposing gesture by women in front of men in epic and iconographic presentations of Archaic Greece: a comparative perspective.
During my Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh I will be exploring the depiction of gestures of female self-exposure (e.g. baring the breast or pudenda) in Ancient Greek literature. The breast-baring gesture made by a mother when pleading with her son, which is found for the first time in Homer, is reflected in many subsequent authors in Antiquity and after. Women’s exposure of intimate parts of their bodies may have had different functions depending on personal relations: a woman’s baring of her breast in front of a warrior has a different meaning from that of the same gesture in front of her own son, although all the situations will refer – to a different degree – to the primeval use of analogous gestures during funeral rituals, where the gesture of baring the breasts by women in front of related men was a manner of emphasising the strongest degree of emotions. The objective of the project is to study the relation between the multifunctionality of the gestures related to sexuality and their coding in culture.