Amy Richlin

A photo of Amy Richlin
E-mail: Phone: 310-825-4274 Office: Dodd Hall 289C

Since my undergraduate days I have been interested in outgroups and muted groups in the Roman empire: women, slaves, sexual minorities, indigenous peoples in the provinces. All my work has focused on the problems inherent in writing the lives of people who left few records for themselves; for me, the urge to write history springs from a sense of duty to bear witness. I was drawn to satire because of its thingness, its apparent materiality, but through satire I was led in my first book, The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor, into issues related to gender and power. That continued to be the focus of many subsequent essays and of two collections: Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome, and Feminist Theory and the Classics, co-edited with Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz. Around 2000 I turned back to issues of geopolitics, translating three plays by Plautus that focus on Roman attitudes to the Near East and Africa (Rome and the Mysterious Orient). This led in turn to a book about slavery and human trafficking as attested by early Roman comedy: Slave Theater in the Roman Republic: Plautus and Popular Comedy (2017).  Along with further work on comedy, I will be returning to a long-term project on the amatory letters of the young Marcus Aurelius and his teacher, Cornelius Fronto, publishing a new translation (Marcus Aurelius in Love) and continuing to work on How Fronto’s Letters Got Lost: Reading Roman Pederasty in Modern Europe. I teach undergraduate courses on comedy, Roman law, and women’s history; my graduate courses include “Roman History and the Theory of History” and “Sex and Gender in the Ancient Mediterranean.”