Staff Research

We all engage in different types of research, both within the discipline of Classics and beyond, with colleagues from other disciplines. Here are some of our current projects:

Research Groups:

Kyknos is the Swansea and Lampeter Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World. Ian Repath is the current Chair of Kyknos, and Evelien Bracke the Secretary. Other members of staff who take part in research activities are Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, Erica Bexley, Mark Humphries, Maria Pretzler, and Martina Minas-Nerpel. The website is http://kyknos.swan.ac.uk.

CWCH is the Cymru Wales Classics Hub, which supports and promotes the teaching and learning of Classics in Wales. Evelien Bracke is the Chair, and works with other universities (particularly Trinity Saint David and Cardiff) as well as the Welsh Government, school consortia and pioneer schools on developing Classics in Wales. The website is www.cymruwalesclassicshub.weebly.com.

InEPWW (Interpreting Egypt’s Past in Wales and the World) was established as a research centre during the 2015–2016 academic year, initially to formalise long-standing relationships between the Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology (Swansea University) and the Egypt Centre of Swansea University. Since the foundation of the Egypt Centre as a museum in 1998 and the establishment of the first Egyptology degree schemes in 2001, we have worked together on a range of teaching and research projects. InEPWW’s mission is conceived of as a research framework that:

  • enables and supports research activities in the fields of the heritage, archaeology, culture, and history of ancient Egypt
  • offers research facilities to Egyptologists (access to the museum, as well as Egyptological sources in the main library, the Egypt Centre, and the Classics library).
  • will increase the international visibility of Egyptology at Swansea University
  • brings together researchers coming from academic, scientific, and museum backgrounds
  • promotes multidisciplinary approaches
  • distinctly increases a strong internationally recognised Egyptological presence in Wales, the West Country, and the World.

However, beyond Swansea University, InEPWW aims to include within its activities scholars from other departments, universities and museums, with the aim of drawing together Egyptologists from across Wales and beyond in order to develop common research projects. Website coming soon!

 

Individual Staff Research:

Dr Joanne Berry researches Roman social history, specifically regarding urban life, and is our resident expert on Pompeii. She founded Blogging Pompeii, a news and discussion site for Pompeii and the archaeological sites of the Bay of Naples, see http://bloggingpompeii.blogspot.com/

Dr Evelien Bracke is the coordinator for Wales of the Iris Project’s Literacy through Latin project ( www.literacythroughclassics.weebly.com) for which her students go to local schools and teach Classics (both culture and languages). To support this project, she holds Leverhulme funding to examine the impact of learning Latin on primary age pupils. She also takes the role of secretary of the South West Wales branch of the Classical Association; see their website (www.swwclassicalassociation.weebly.com)

Dr Ian Goh is currently researching the family history of the gens Cornelia, whose most famous members, Scipio Africanus and Scipio Aemilianus, were prominent in Africa, focusing especially on their generational response to failure as a Republican trope. Future work in this vein will involve Petrarch’s Renaissance Latin epic about Africanus.

Dr Stephen Harrison’s work explores the empires of the Achaemenid kings of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Seleucids. He is particularly interested in kingship, and how the rulers of these multi-ethnic kingdoms sought to ensure that people from very different backgrounds could live side-by-side in peace.

Dr Fritz-Gregor Herrmann’s area of research is Ancient Philosophy and Literature, with a focus on Plato, Greek tragedy and Thucydides. His special interest is the relationship between words and ideas, and the way in which tradition and innovation in language influence the way thoughts are developed, formulated, expressed and presented. He is currently working on conceptualisations of decision-making in early Greek thought and on continuities and differences between the political psychologies of Thucydides and Plato.

Professor Mark Humphries is a general editor, with Professor Gillian Clark (University of Bristol) and Dr Mary Whitby (University of Oxford), of the series Translated Texts for Historians (Liverpool University Press), which publishes scholarly translations of and commentaries on texts from Late Antiquity (AD300-800), see http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk. He is also a joint editor, with Professor Oliver Nicholson (University of Minnesota) of the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, and is a also a member of the international advisory board for the Irish Theological Quarterly.

Dr Ersin Hussein’s research primarily focuses on local identity formation in the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean, notably in Roman Cyprus. She is currently developing research on metals and identity formation in antiquity (particularly on copper) and aims to explore the impact of metals on communities from antiquity to the present day.

At present Dr Nigel Pollard is primarily working on a study of protection, damage and reception of archaeological sites and monuments in the Second World War, including the work of the Allied Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-Commission (the ‘Monuments Men’), and as a board member of the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield, engages with governments, NGOs and military personnel to promote the protection of cultural sites in conflicts and natural disasters.He has also launched his blog (https://endangeredsyriaheritage.wordpress.com/) containing images of damaged and endangered sites in Syria.

Dr Maria Pretzler is fascinated by the small cities that made up most of the Greek world, and her current project on the Peloponnesian League focuses on the ways in which these small states influenced Greek history, and what impact major events had on them in turn. Pausanias also led her to ancient geography and travel writing, and research on various aspects of ancient approaches to the landscape, particularly memorial and religious landscapes. At the same time, she has also been involved in landscape archaeology, and she continues to benefit from parallels, connections and comparisons between ancient and modern approaches to landscapes. The culture and literature of Greeks in the heyday of the Roman Empire (the Second Sophistic) also represents a major interest. Apart from Pausanias, she has been doing work on Lucian, Aelius Aristeides, Lucian and Polyaenus.

Dr Tracey Rihll has long specialized in the history of ancient science and technology, and more recently has been extending into the area of science and technology studies more generally. She also continues to work on slavery, and the social, economic and political history of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.

Dr Troy Sagrillo is a member of the International Association of Egyptologists, München, Germany; the Egyptian Exploration Society, London, UK; the American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt; and the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Toronto, Canada.

Dr Kasia Szpakowska’s research focuses on Ancient Egyptian private religious practices, dreams, gender and the archaeology of magic. She is an avid proponent of interdisciplinary research and digital humanities, and collaborates with engineers, artists, glaciologists and computer scientists. An online database of liminal entities as well as 3D visualization is in progress. Currently she is investigating the role of apotropaic devices such as clay cobra figurines and images of supernatural beings as mechanisms for coping with physical and mental health afflictions Ancient Egyptians believed to have been caused by external demons, see www.demonthings.com/.

In May 2010 the Egypt Centre together with Kasia Szpakowska organised an international conference called Experiment and Experience: Ancient Egypt in the Present which aimed to bring academics and craftspeople together to explore aspects of ancient Egyptian technology through experiment. This conference was streamed with the support of the Swansea University Research Institute for Arts and Humanities. You can see and even download the Podcasts here.

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