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Classics is a close-knit Department offering a range of sub-disciplines, approaches and methodologies, and periods. We are distinctive in our ambitious coverage (literature, history, archaeology, reception). In addition to the subject coverage, core strengths include oratory, law and rhetoric (currently mainly Greek), theoretically-driven approaches to Classical literature, digital archaeology, and Classical reception. Some of this activity is focused by The Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric (COR) and the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome (CRGR). We pride ourselves on research engaged with the contemporary world. Classics is both part of contemporary culture and offers a critical distance from which we can reflect on and critically engage with global challenges.

In addition to and overlapping with the work of our research centres (COR and CRGR), we group our Engaged Classics into three main themes: 

Contemporary Classics

This theme focuses on the political from the politics of the body to global politics and covers work in areas such as gender and feminism; postcolonialism; law and advocacy; empowerment and voice; social engagement and pedagogy.

Spaces and Materials of Belonging

This theme focuses on the materiality and representation of objects and spaces and how those objects and spaces affected everyday lives. Research ranges from the archaeological reconstruction of houses, temples, and urban landscapes, through the meaning of objects, the effects of displacement, economics, to literary engagements with and representations of the spatial. 

The Fantastic

This theme explores stories - how they were made, remade, and reimagined from antiquity to the contemporary era. Classical narratives engage with subjects which vary from the sublime to the comic and across genres from epic to the philosophical, set in worlds that range from the socio-realistic to the mythic and everything in between. The theme explores literature itself and how our humanity is explored in literature. 

Research by Disciplinary Areas

Our researchers work within their disciplinary sub-areas of archaeology, Greek and Roman history, and literature.

Activities, Engagement and Impact

Our research engages. We engage with colleagues through numerous events, conferences, seminars, and workshops. These normally international events drive forward our collaborative research, developing new ideas and methodologies often across disciplinary boundaries. Our research also has impact beyond the academy in schools, cultural institutions, and communities across the globe. 


Interdisciplinarity is a central element of our research work, whether interpreted conservatively (links between literature and philosophy and history; archaeology and history), or in new science-arts crossovers (Lowe, Kremmydas), and theory and Classics (Alston, Spentzou). Science-led methodologies are deployed by Jari Pakkanen in architectural reconstruction, recording and quantification and Erica Rowan’s studies of archaeobotanical remains. Zena Kamash is working with psychologists to investigate well-being and heritage in contemporary Iraq.

We work closely with colleagues in other disciplinary areas, notably in History with the Centre for Holocaust Studies and the ancient historians based there (Kate Cooper, Hannah Platts, David Natal Villazala, David Gwynn and Victoria Leonard); philosophy (John Sellars); and with English.



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