Dr Katherine Backler
My research, at the intersection of history and literature, has two related strands: recovering the perspectives and experiences of ancient women—and reconsidering how we might access those perspectives—and working outwards from the study of individual relationships to re-examine larger-scale social structures. I am particularly interested in the complexities of emotional and bodily intimacy in exploitative relationships, and in the potential for approaching epigraphic texts commissioned by women as instances of women's self-writing.
- Departmental Lecturer in Ancient Greek History, Faculty of Classics with University College (from 2021)
- Examination Fellow, All Souls College (from 2016)
- Undergraduate, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (from 2012 to 2016)
- Women’s relationships in classical Attika
- Social history from Attic oratory and epigraphy
- Emotional dynamics of slavery
- Kinship (especially fostering, adoption, matrilineage)
- Women’s self-writing in the ancient world
- Women and narrative in early Greek hexameter poetry
- Textiles in ancient Greek literature and culture
- 'Sisterhood, affection and enslavement in Hyperides' Against Timandrus', Classical Quarterly (forthcoming).
- Lysias: Speeches, translated by Martin Hammond with an introduction and notes by Katherine Backler (forthcoming with OUP in the Oxford World’s Classics series).
- Women Beyond Wifehood: Living and Relating in Classical Athens (under review with CUP).
- 'Women in Classical Athens', Season 1 ('Power') of the Hublic Sphere Podcast.
- 'Juggling emotions on a small Greek pot', podcast with the Ashmolean Museum.
- Athens/Riyadh: think-piece on similarities between women’s social position in classical Athens and modern Saudi Arabia.
My teaching ranges across (mainly Greek) history, literature, and language. I teach:
Greats (Finals) papers:
- Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome
- Archaic Greek History, c. 750-479 BC
- Thucydides and the Greek World: 479 BC to 403 BC
- The End of the Peloponnesian War to the Death of Philip II of Macedon: 403 BC to 336 BC
- Alexander the Great and his Early Successors: 336 BC to 302 BC
- The Hellenistic World: Societies and Cultures: c.300-100 BC
- Early Greek Hexameter Poetry
Mods and Prelims (first- and second-year) papers:
- Aristophanes' Political Comedy
- Aristocracy to Democracy: 550-450 BC
- Greek Texts and Contexts ('The Persian Wars and Cultural Identities' and 'Dionysus, Drama, and Athens')
- Latin Texts and Contexts ('Love and Luxury' and 'Class')
- Homer, Iliad
Papers for visiting students:
- Women in Early Christianity
- Demosthenes, Philippics
- Aristophanes, Wasps
- Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
- Herodotus, Histories
- Sophocles, Antigone
I am available to supervise graduate and undergraduate theses on topics pertaining to my research.