Institute Faculty

Karen BassiKaren Bassi, Institute Director
Karen Bassi received her BA in Classics from UCSC in 1980 and her Ph.D. in Classics from Brown University in 1987. She has taught at UCSC since 1989 where she is Professor of Classics and Literature. Professor Bassi specializes in ancient Greek literature – especially tragedy — and historiography. She is author of Acting Like Men, Gender, Drama and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece (University of Michigan Press 1998) and co-editor (with Peter Euben) of When Worlds Elide: Classics, Politics, Culture (Rowman and Littlefield 2010). She has published articles on Greek tragedy, epic and lyric poetry, and history writing. Her interest in the history of mortality stems from her current book project, provisionally titled In Search of Lost Things: Classics Between History and Archaeology. Professor Bassi has been the recipient of a University of California President’s Fellowship in the Humanities and an NEH Focus Grant on Pre- and Early-Modern Studies. She has also been an Associate Research Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies. She has served as chair of the Literature Department, as Director of the Classics Program, as director of the Education Abroad Program in the Netherlands, and as senior co-chair of the Women’s Classical Caucus of the American Philological Association. In addition to extensive administrative experience, Professor Bassi has professional relationships with colleagues and institutions in Greece, where she has participated in several international conferences.

Brooke HolmesBrooke Holmes, Visiting Scholar
Brooke Holmes is Associate Professor of Classics at Princeton University. She specializes in ancient Greek medicine, philosophy, and literature with particular interests in the history of the body, materialism, tragedy, and ethics. She is author of The Symptom and the Subject: The Emergence of the Physical Body in Ancient Greece (Princeton University Press 2010). More recently, she is the co-editor (with W. H. Shearin) of Dynamic Reading: Studies in the Reception of Epicureanism (Oxford University Press 2012) and the author of Gender: Antiquity and Its Legacy (I. B. Tauris and Oxford University Press 2012). She has published articles on ancient medicine, Lucretius, tragedy, Homer, and the history of the body, as well as on ancient authors in light of critical theory. She has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Whiting Foundation, the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Sarah Iles JohnstonSarah Iles Johnston, Visiting Scholar
Sarah Iles Johnston is Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of Religion and Professor of Classics at The Ohio State University. She is an authority on ancient Greek religion and myth and has written numerous articles and several influential books on religion and approaches to death in Greek antiquity. She is author of Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece (University of California Press 1999), co-author (with Fritz Graf) of Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets (Routledge 2007), and editor of Religions of the Ancient World, A Guide (Harvard University Press 2004). She has been a fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Universität Göttingen, a Senior ACLS Fellow, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Sheila MurnaghanSheila Murnaghan, Visiting Scholar
Sheila Murnaghan is Alfred Reginald Allen Memorial Professor of Greek at The University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of specialization include Greek epic, tragedy, and historiography, gender in classical culture, and Classical reception. She is author of Disguise and Recognition in the Odyssey (Princeton University Press 1987) and co-editor (with Sandra Joshel) of Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture: Differential Equations (Routledge 2000). She also wrote new introductions to new translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey by Stanley Lombardo (1997, 2000) for which she received the 2010 Umhoefer Prize for Achievement in Humanities. She has been a Junior Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, the recipient of an NEH Course Development Grant, and the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship at Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center. Her current work includes an edition and commentary on Sophocles’ Ajax and a book entitled Most Tragic Sophocles.

Yiannis PetropoulosYiannis Petropoulos, Visiting Scholar
Yiannis Petropoulos is Professor of Ancient Greek Literature at The Democritean University of Thrace at Komotini and Director and Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. His areas of research include archaic poetry, Aegean archaeology, Ancient Greek and Latin literature and the visual arts, and contemporary literary criticism. He has written numerous articles on Greek literature and culture (in both Greek and English). He is the author of Heat and Lust, Hesiod’s Midsummer Festival Scene Revisited (Lanham 1994), Eroticism in Ancient and Medieval Greek Poetry (Duckworth 2003), Kleos in a Minor Key: The Homeric Education of a Little Prince (Center for Hellenic Studies and Harvard University Press 2011) and editor of Greek Magic, Ancient, Medieval and Modern (Routledge 2008). He is currently working on a book based on the lectures on Greek archaic poetry he gave in 2008 as a Senior Visiting Scholar under the auspices of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.

Kirk SandersKirk Sanders, Visiting Scholar
Kirk Sanders is Associate Professor of Philosophy and the Classics and Interim Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He specializes in ancient philosophy, with an emphasis on moral psychology. He is the author of multiple articles on a range of subjects and figures in Greek and Roman philosophy. He is also co-editor (with J. Fish) of Epicurus and the Epicurean Tradition (Cambridge, 2011) and has two more edited volumes in preparation: Xenophon: Socratic Writings under contract with Hackett Publishing and The Oxford Handbook of Epicureanism (co-edited with J. Fish) under contract with Oxford University Press USA. He has been a Junior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard University), as well as the recipient of a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and a Fulbright Grant to Italy for research on the Herculaneum papyri. In 2013, Professor Sanders was awarded both a Humanities Council Teaching Excellence Award by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Provost’s Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Illinois.

Yannis Tzifopoulos, Visiting Scholar
Yannis Tzifopoulos is Professor of Greek and Epigraphy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. He is an expert on Greek and Latin Epigraphy with research interests in ancient historiography, Greek comedy, Sophocles, and Pausanias and the second Sophistic. He is author of Paradise Earned: The Bacchic-Orphic Gold Lamellae of Crete (Harvard University Press, 2010), and is currently involved in an archival project that will result in the publication of: the Archive of Inscriptions of the Rethymno Prefecture, and the Archive of Inscriptions of North Pieria. In 2003-04 he was the recipient of a Harvard University Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship.

Michael WeddeMichael Wedde, Local Guest Scholar
Michael Wedde is a Finnish-born but internationally raised prehistoric and classical archaeologist with an MA in Archaeology, English and French from the Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland), and a PhD in Archaeology from the Universität Mannheim (Germany). He has participated in excavations in Switzerland and Greece (mainly Crete). A two-year stint as an administrator at the Norwegian Institute at Athens whetted his appetite for the organizational side of education before receiving the call to teach at the Athens Centre – a return to the trenches. His main interests include ancient ship imagery and architecture, ancient Greek history, the roots of Athenian democracy… Well, actually most aspects of the ancient Greeks. Plus the conversion of knowledge thus gained into student-friendly fare.