Wonder begins with difference

Welcome! I am a PhD candidate in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. This year I hold the Frank E. Ratliff Fellowship in Classical Antiquity (2016/17).

My research and teaching interests span ancient Greek rhetoric, medicine, and philosophy as well as contemporary critical theory. At the core, I am motivated by the question of how humans individually and collectively navigate difference. When does difference inspire wonder, and when does it engender discomfort and fear?

In my dissertation, Disease and Difference in Three Platonic Dialogues, I lay the groundwork for developing a theory of difference out of Plato's images of disease. I argue that Plato's metaphors of disease in Gorgias, Phaedo, and Timaeus force his readers to confront uncomfortable differences—whether in the city, psyche, body, cosmos, or argument—which help transform them into philosophical thinkers. An early version of one chapter has been published as "'We are the Disease': Truth, Health, and Politics from Plato's Gorgias to Foucault" (Epoché 18.2, 2014).

My work is inspired by my upbringing in the Middle East as the daughter of a U.S. ambassador, and especially by the wave of uprisings that began there in 2011. Since 2013, I have served as an advisor at Boutique Activist Consultancy, a social change think tank, where I bring my rhetorical skills and philosophical insight to the task of understanding and sparking democratic social movements.

Thank you for your interest in my work. I would be glad to hear from you at thyme@berkeley.edu or on Twitter.

Ricciardone CV for WEB