Latin Literature, History of Sexuality, Feminist Theory
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. More recently I have 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), leading to a new book with the working title Plautine Comedy as Slave Theater. At the same time, I have been engaged on 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."
Amy Richlin's C.V.