I wasn't always a classicist. In fact, I went to college for music — cello-performance, to be exact. However, by the time I received my Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University, a fascination with ancient culture and language and had already taken root. After receiving my bachelor's, I went on to take a master's degree in cello-performance, though I had by then begun the study of Latin. Later, I took up Greek; travel with my wife in Italy further intensified my interest in things classical. Finally, in the fall of '89, I entered the Ph.D. program in Classical Languages and Literatures at Yale University, taking my degree in ancient Greek in the fall of '97. After Yale, I taught for two years at Wabash College, then for a year at Yale before taking up my current position at Binghamton University in the fall of 2000.
At the beginning of my scholarly arc I focused on gender, sexuality, desire, and how they resonated in literature produced under the classical Athenian democracy. More recently I have begun to study the emotions of envy and desire as things that happen not simply inside us but between us, and as ways people made sense of competitive and other behavior in the ancient Mediterranean.
I have written on critical theory and its application to literature produced under the classical Athenian democracy (book Concordia Discors, Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies, 2007), on erotic imagery in political contexts (chapter in book = article "Friends, Lovers, Flatterers, Transactions of the American Philological Association"; "Perfume from Peron's," Illinois Classical Studies), and on cult to Aphrodite at a Greek trading post in the Nile Delta (article "Aphrodite Pandemos at Naukratis," Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies). My current project I am provisionally calling "Bad Romance: Desire and Envy in the Ancient Mediterranean World." In it, I explore competition and its discontents mostly in the Greek-speaking Roman East, and with a special focus on, as noted above, desire and envy. I recently presented at the Society for Classical Studies on the topic: "Unwelcome Guest: Envy, Shame, and Materiality in an Ancient Greek Villa," the text of which I aam just about done turning into an article.
Further work, a collection Mark Munn (Penn State) and I are editing, reflects interests expored in my book (above). Our collection stems from a panel the two of us organized for the January 2008 APA ("The Ruling Passion: The Erotics of Politics in the Ancient World"). Find out more by clicking here. Connected with that is research exploring the sociality of two passions, desire and envy, in the ancient Mediterranean world and what their fraught relationship can tell us about Roman attitudes to ambition and the like; see more here.
These scholarly interests translate into teaching that explores the intersections of culture, politics, and literature in the ancient world. In so doing, my goal is three-fold: (1) to bring students into contact with the values and attitudes that animated the politics, literature, art, and thought of the ancient Greeks; (2) to explore how ancient Greece relates to the culture with which we live today; (3) to to guide students through the intricacies of critical thinking and effective writing and presenting. I teach ancient Greek and Latin language at all levels. In my language teaching, I am committed to providing students with a firm grounding in the basics, and to working with them in improving their reading and comprehension skills, but I also consider it important to convey to students a sense of the cultural, historical, and intellectual context within which the languages were used.