I work on mainly on Roman ideas about aesthetics, communication, and political action, especially as they hold (in my view) ongoing relevance for the modern world. I started my study of classical literature and culture at Middlesex School, where I currently serve on the board of trustees, and continued at Princeton (AB 1991) and the University of Pennsylvania (PhD 1997). I taught at the University of Washington and at Stanford before coming to NYU in 2004.
Each fall I spend a week or two on the island of San Servolo at the Venice International University, as a member of the Advanced Seminar in Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies -- hence the image of San Marco above. While his artistic practice bars me from putting up an image of his work, I have greatly valued my work for and in the pieces of Tino Sehgal, recent winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Bienniale.
I've been active in the American Philological Association: I serve on the Board of Directors, and in the past I've co-chaired the Nominating Committee and chaired the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups. My most popular publication--certainly I get the most feedback about it--is my handbook "Going on the Market," which guides graduate students and junior PhDs through the process of applying for jobs and post-doctoral fellowships. Though this work is time-consuming, the insight I've gained into the workings of academia, both the university and the state of the profession, has been invaluable.
My first book, The State of Speech: Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome, was published by Princeton in 2007; the second book, The Life of Roman Republicanism, also from Princeton, has now appeared. I have grown intensely interested in the role of aesthetic experience in the formation of political judgment, the place of dissent in various institutions committed to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge, and the representation of ethical choice in Roman rhetorical education and the law. Some day soon I hope to marry my interest in opera and twentieth century art (especially minimalism) to this scholarly interest: I made a small stab at this with a piece on Vergil's Eclogues about ten years ago. I'm currently at work on various articles and co-editing a volume for Oxford on ancient literary theory and criticism with fellow classicist Nancy Worman.
I have written book reviews for various Classics and Politics journals as well as the Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, The Women's Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review. My interest in changing views on individual rights, knowledge, and the law led me to write an introduction to Wilkie Collins’ nineteenth century classic detective novel The Moonstone.
My undergraduate teaching has included courses on ancient political theory, Roman cultural identity and intellectual history, and poetics. In fall 2014, I taught a new Core course called "Texts and Ideas: This World and the Next," which features readings in Thucydides, Plato, Vergil, Olaudah Equiano, Thoreau, Marx, and Philip K. Dick, among others. I generally teach one film and one work of music each year in "Texts and Ideas," and this year we'll tackle Terrence Malick's The New World and Philip Glass' Satyagraha. On the graduate level, I'll teach the second half of our departmental survey of imperial Latin literature.
These days the access of non-wealthy citizens to the parts of civic space where political decisions get made, including but not limited to the electoral process, is much on my mind. I would like to edit a book on the contemporary role of the liberal arts in educating democratic citizens, and the Occupy Wall Street actions of 2011 and student debt activism have convinced me that this project must address issues of class and costs. Other further-in-the-future projects include a book on pastoral and a long essay on the emergence of Athens in Roman thought as an ideal transnational state. My work on classical reception in general seeks to contribute to our understanding of the development of Classics as a discipline in the early modern period and beyond -- especially (circling back to where I began) its relationship to rhetoric, aesthetics, and politics.