Graduate Student News (2018-19)

Erickson Bridges

Erickson Bridges

"My third year at Duke has been quite eventful! I spent much of the last year studying for my final five graduate exams, as well as on my last two courses in the program during the fall (Greek Papyrology and Roman Topography). Also during the fall, I completed my special topic exam on Epicureanism under Prof. Atkins. Once the spring rolled around, I devoted myself to studying for my upcoming preliminary exams, alongside completing my special author exam on Horace with Prof. Davis and acting as a TA for Prof. Jazwa’s Ancient Athletes course. With those exams now behind me, I’ve begun researching into my dissertation topic with the assistance of Profs. Atkins and Davis, specifically looking at the relationship between the curious description of the Plague of Athens at the end of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura and the depiction of medical imagery in Epicureanism as a whole. Aside from a brief trip to Europe at the start of the summer, I plan on spending the next few months developing this topic into a prospectus to defend in the fall. I’m also very much looking forward to begin teaching Latin 101/2 to undergraduates this coming fall!"

Thomas Cole

Thomas at the British Museum

"It has been a productive year. I made substantial progress on my dissertation. In it, I am arguing that Tacitus’ opera minora questions the applicability of Republican-era political thought to understand the dynamic Principate. Putting the first (near the) last, I drafted the introductory chapter after having written the first two chapters. I’m now currently finishing up the final chapter; and the project’s end is in sight. I plan to defend in the fall. Since I didn’t teach in the fall, I was overjoyed to be back in the classroom in the spring, teaching Latin 102. Two years ago, I taught Latin 102. Teaching it again gave me ample opportunity to introduce the same material with a different classroom environment. In the same vein, I was awarded a Bass Instructor-of-Record Fellowship to teach Roman Political Thought and Its Modern Legacy. I modeled my syllabus on Professor Atkins’s course, but I have drawn on my experience as a lawyer and oriented the course slightly more in that direction. The fall will be busy, but I’m looking forward to it."

Michael Freeman

Michael teaches a class of Duke undergraduates how to transcribe a papyrus. (p.c. Trudi  Abel)

"I came to Duke, in large part, because I hoped to explore its rare books collection and to learn from the amazing group of manuscript scholars who teach here. This year I was given the opportunity to do just that—and then some! In the fall semester, I got a handle on the fundamentals of Greek papyrology and paleography in William Johnson’s tour de force "Literary Papyrology" seminar. I built upon this base of knowledge throughout the spring semester in a course on "Manuscript Culture" with Jennifer Knust. In this research-based seminar I began to create my own editions of a few currently unpublished Duke papyri, and I’m hopeful that these editions may soon bloom into publications! Later in the spring semester, student became teacher: in collaboration with Clare Woods and under the sponsorship of the Rubenstein Library’s “Archival Expeditions” fellowship, I developed and taught a module on literary papyrology to a class of Duke undergraduates. Near the semester’s end, I traveled to CAMWS to share with my peers some highlights of the year’s research. My CAMWS paper explored how manuscripts and reading culture transformed ancient education and philosophy. Between the conferences, teaching, research, and coursework, I even managed to catch a Duke basketball game in Cameron Stadium (you get comp. tickets if you sing the national anthem!). Year two was a dream; here’s to year three!"

Alex Karsten

Alex Karsten

"My third year was one of significant endings and beginnings. It’s hard to believe that, 25 years after my first “First Day of School,” I have taken my last class as a student. But what a great way to go out! My last two courses gave me access to new perspectives, methodologies, and technical skills. In addition to completing my coursework, I have also come to the conclusion of another aspect of my academic life: exams. Preparing for the prelims, at first intimidating, turned out to be one of the most enriching experiences of my career. The chance to take the time to push my knowledge as far forward in every direction within the field that I could was both humbling and affirming. Finally, working on my special topics was one of the highlights of my time as a student. I look forward to building on that work in my dissertation.

"The end of this year signals two big new beginnings: the dissertation and teaching. Both are daunting, but my time at Duke has taught me that’s probably a good sign. On the personal side of things, there was another big beginning this year: I got married! We had two ceremonies, Hindu and Catholic, and the Catholic ceremony was held in Duke Chapel, a setting as meaningful as it was stunning. This year has set a high bar, but with the community that I have supporting me here at Duke, it has only left me looking forward to the next one."

Clinton Kinkade

Clinton Kinkade
Clinton Kinkade

"My fourth year here at Duke has been an exciting one. Having worked through multiple revisions of my dissertation prospectus over the summer with Professor Catenaccio, I finally defended it this fall. I plan to write on Sophocles’s reception in the ancient world, trying to better understand what ancient audiences valued in this author. I began work on the first chapter over winter break and hope to have a first draft done soon. This year I also began teaching again, being responsible for introductory Greek classes in the fall and spring. I enjoyed this thoroughly, not only from my general enjoyment of teaching and ancient Greek, but also because I had a chance to finagle some work on Photius’ Lexicon into the final weeks of our class as a means of review. Though I won’t get to teach Greek again next year, I’m looking forward to teaching third semester Latin in the fall. This summer I received another grant from the Graduate School that will allow me to work unimpeded on my first chapter draft of the dissertation. I will also be attending a spoken Latin conference at Dickinson College in July, and, most importantly, my nephew’s second birthday party back home in Kankakee in August."

Sinja Küppers

Sinja Küppers

"This semester I participated in Prof. Alicia Jiménez’ class project of digitizing the collection of ancient coins in the Nasher Museum and translated the first chapter of Alice in Wonderland into Attic Greek as a final paper and part of an ongoing project. Furthermore, I have been building an interactive databank on the Movement in the Second Sophistic Movement, supported by the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at FHI. In the Duke/UNC Graduate Symposium 2019 and a Workshop on the Second Sophistic at UNC I provided a Glance into the Lives of Sophists: the Title ‘Sophist’ in Documentary Papyri and presented on Sophists’ Public Identity and Roman Provincial Coinage.

"As president of Duke F1RSTS ( I can proudly share that our Duke community has grown to more than 200 members and we initiated a mentorship initiative for our first-generation undergrads. Thanks to a German leadership grant I will also be hosting a conference for first-gen students in Hannover, Germany, from May 31 to June 2.

"Beyond that, I love playing table tennis for our Duke women’s team (ranked third in the NCTTA). With my sports partner I also won the first prize in the Stock Market Game.

"I very much look forward to exploring my special topics on performance and audience in antiquity in the fall and to assisting Dr. Kyle Jazwa in teaching Ancient Athletics in spring."

Tori Lee

Tori Lee
Tori Lee and Clinton Kinkade at the Egyptian Temple of Debod in Madrid, Spain

"I can't believe I've already finished my third year at Duke! After a very busy spring, I've now completed my coursework (bittersweet) and exams (just sweet). I was lucky to work with Prof. Gonzalez and Prof. Davis in the fall for directed readings, as well as with Prof. Catenaccio and Prof. Davis again for special topics, on Feminist Classical Scholarship and Imperial Pastoral Reception. I gave my first SCS talk this past January in San Diego, on obscenity in modern English translations of Catullus. I continue to work as Assistant Editor for Eidolon, and I now serve on the leadership collective of The Sportula, an organization that provides microgrants for classics students. This summer, I'll be developing my dissertation prospectus, with a quick break for a week-long spoken Latin course at Dickinson College. I hope to learn enough to be able to incorporate some active language into my Latin 101 class in the fall. I'm looking forward to my first year of teaching!"

Adrian Linden-High

Adrian Linden-High inspecting inscriptions at the superlative archaeological depot of  Carnuntum in Hainburg, Austria

"My fifth year in the program went by in warp speed. I am happy I got to do a bit of everything: teaching, service, and research. Reading original Latin texts with an athlete-heavy class of undergraduates never ceased to entertain. The weekend’s sports results were always a reliable predictor of my students’ mood on Monday! In addition to teaching, I was busy organizing a Duke-UNC Classics Graduate Symposium with several collaborators. We welcomed 25 participants to the event on 9 February and hope to have built some momentum for future events in this vein. My research moved forward alongside these other duties as well. I defended my first chapter in the fall. Currently, I am working on the next chunk of my dissertation dealing with the inscriptions of slaves and liberti in the Roman military. As I write these lines, I am en route to Hadrian’s Wall to autopsy inscriptions and visit several Roman military sites."

Antonio LoPiano

Antonio with the freshly excavated marble fountain head in the shape of Silenus

"My second year at duke has been full of adventures, in and out of the classroom. Last summer I began fieldwork at Vulci, an Etruscan-Roman city, with Prof. Forte and the Vulci 3000 Archaeology Project. This summer my work there continues and includes exploration of a subterranean cistern, the application of digital technologies and skills I learned in the classroom here at Duke, and the discovery of a myriad of interesting artifacts. I have also had amazing opportunities to work on field projects with Prof. Jazwa and Prof. Jimenez in Cyprus and Spain respectively.

"However, all of this globetrotting (that the department generously helps support) is equaled by the exploration that my experiences in the classroom have afforded me. Whether it was learning the ins and outs of ancient Roman topography with Prof, Boatwright, investigating the world of the Roman Economy through hands on access to the Nasher's ancient coin collection with Prof. Jimenez, or immersing myself in the philosophical currents of Roman poetry with Prof. Davis, this year has been full of excitement and intellectual growth."

Courtney Monahan

Teaching in front of the "Laudatio Turiae" in Rome

"My sixth year in the program has been a busy one and one full of exciting opportunities and changes. After returning from teaching for the Duke in Rome course and research in Spain over the summer, I dove into teaching (Latin 101/102) and making progress on my dissertation, which is finally starting to feel like it’s coming together. Beyond the regular grind, I also had the chance to give a paper at CAMWS on the familial relationships of imperial cult priestesses in the Latin West. With the help of Melissa Huber, Tom Cole, and David Stifler, I continued to organize our Undergraduate Latin Sight-Reading group where we dug into the Res Gestae with a talented bunch of Latin students.

"I am happy to report that in the fall I will be starting a fantastic job as the Upper School Latin teacher at Durham Academy. I’ll get to teach Latin I through AP Latin (and coach the softball team). I’m excited to be staying in the area and to get back to teaching high school Latin. I’ve also received a Stern Fellowship from the Graduate School to support the final stages of my dissertation, which I’ll be finishing up next year."

Laura Winters


"The 2018-2019 academic year was my fifth year of the Ph.D. program, and has been a time of intense focus on my dissertation, Schools of Greek Mathematical Practice. I have written three of the four intended chapters. I applied for and was granted a summer fellowship and the Julian Price fellowship in order to complete the project in the coming year. In addition, my abstract for a paper on Greek Mathematical Traditions was accepted to be read at the SCS annual meetings in January 2020. Finally, in February of this year I visited Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN as a guest lecturer, co-sponsored by the Honors College and the departments of Mathematics and Classical Studies. I taught several classes there, met with students interested in the intersections of STEM and Humanities fields, and delivered a lecture entitled “X = Why?: How Philosophy Ruined the History of Math”.

"In Fall 2018 I taught Latin 101 for what will probably be the last time at Duke. Teaching has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my time as a graduate student, and I am very grateful both to Dr. Crews for coordinating the Latin program so skillfully, and to the students I have had the privilege of getting to know. I wish the incoming graduate instructors all the joy I had of it in the classroom. We are very lucky to be able to do this job."