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Classical Studies

Dr Joanna Paul


I am a Lecturer in Classical Studies, and I joined the Open University in September 2011. After an undergraduate degree in Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Birmingham, I studied for my MA and PhD at the University of Bristol, where I developed my research interests in classical reception studies. I joined the OU from the University of Liverpool, where I was a Lecturer in Classical Studies (2006-2009), and then the J.P. Postgate Early Career Fellow in Classics (2009-2011).


Research interests

My research is concerned with the many different ways in which the modern world receives, engages with, and uses the classical past. I am particularly interested in cinematic receptions of antiquity, and I have published articles on a wide range of films, including Fellini-Satyricon, Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, Agora, and the 1954 Ulisse. My monograph on Film and the Classical Epic Tradition was published by Oxford University Press in 2013, and I am continuing to work on different kinds of screen receptions of antiquity.

I am also fascinated by the variety of other ways in which people might access the classical world, whether through historical novels, tourism and museum visits, educational contexts, or any number of other popular engagements with antiquity. I have a particular interest in receptions of Pompeii; a co-edited volume (with Dr Shelley Hales of the University of Bristol), Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today, is published by Oxford University Press, and I am working on a monograph on Pompeian receptions for I.B. Tauris’ New Directions in Classics series. I am also exploring how children engage with the classical past, through pedagogical materials like the Cambridge Latin Course, and literature written for children: forthcoming publications include studies of classical receptions in the work of E. Nesbit, and the Percy Jackson series.

Teaching and other activities

I am an Executive Committee member of the Classical Reception Studies Network, and am closely involved with new initiatives to develop its activities in the coming years; since 2011, I have overseen the CRSN’s Teaching strand, which aims to promote debate over the teaching of classical reception studies, and to find ways of supporting those engaged in this practice.

As well as classical reception topics, I have experience in teaching a wide variety of subjects, including Latin literature, visual culture, and Roman history. I am chairing a new Latin language and literature module, currently in production, as well as contributing to modules on The Roman Empire, and our new MA programme.

Selected publications


Film and the Classical Epic Tradition. (Oxford 2013: Oxford University Press.)

Edited books

Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today (co-edited with Shelley Hales). (Oxford 2011: Oxford University Press.)

Articles and book chapters

‘Madonna and whore: the many faces of Penelope in Camerini’s Ulysses’  in K. Nikoloutsos (ed.), Ancient Greek Women in Film. (Oxford 2013: Oxford University Press.)

‘The Democratic Turn in (and through) pedagogy: a case study of the Cambridge Latin Course’ in L. Hardwick and S. Harrison (eds.) Classics in the Modern World: A 'Democratic Turn'? (Oxford 2013: Oxford University Press.)

‘Subverting sex and love in Alejandro Amenabar's Agora’  in M. Cyrino (ed.) Screening Sex and Love in the Ancient World. (New York 2013: Palgrave Macmillan.)

‘Pompeii, the Holocaust, and World War Two’ in S. Hales and J. Paul (eds.), Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today.(Oxford 2011: Oxford University Press.)

‘Cinematic Receptions of Antiquity: The Current State of Play’, Classical Receptions Journal 2:1 (2010).

‘Oliver Stone’s Alexander and the Cinematic Epic Tradition’ in F. Greenland and P. Cartledge (eds.), Responses to Oliver Stone’s Alexander: Film, History and Culture Studies. (Madison 2009: University of Wisconsin Press.)

Fellini-Satyricon: Petronius and Film’ in J. Prag and I. Repath (eds.), Petronius: A Handbook. (Oxford 2009: WileyBlackwell.)

‘‘I fear it's potentially like Pompeii’: Disaster, Mass Media and the Ancient City’ in K. Shahabudin and D. Lowe (eds.), Re-Presenting Antiquity in Mass Cultural Media. (Newcastle-upon-Tyne 2009: Cambridge Scholars Press.)

‘Working with Film: Theories and Methodologies’ in L.P. Hardwick and C. Stray (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Classical Receptions (Malden, MA and Oxford 2008: Blackwell.)

‘Translating Homer for the Cinema’ in A. Lianeri and V. Zajko (eds.), Translation & The Classic: Identity as Change in the History of Culture. (Oxford 2008: Oxford University Press.)

‘Rome Ruined and Fragmented: The Cinematic City in Fellini-Satyricon and Roma’, in R. Wrigley (ed.), Cinematic Rome (Leicester 2008: Troubadour.)

See also Open Research Online for further details of Joanna Paul’s research publications.

Joanna Paul photo

Film and the Classical Epic Tradition - book cover

Pompeii in the public imagination - book cover
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