Master of Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania (2014)
Ph.D. (Classics), St John's College, Cambridge (2002)
M.Phil. (Ancient History), University of Sydney (1997)
B.A. (Ancient History and Archaeology), University of Auckland (1994)
I’m a social historian, working particularly in the late and post-Roman world (third through seventh centuries CE). I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying rural communities in late antiquity: how they worked, what strategies, institutions and structures they possessed for maintaining equilibrium and managing conflict, and what they did when things went wrong. This has led me to consider the social dynamics of disasters in the period: what factors made particular communities vulnerable or resilient in the face of potentially catastrophic natural hazards, military incursions, famines, or disease, and how those communities might have experienced, responded to, and recovered from such events. These questions are part of a broader exploration of the complex, dialectical relations between human populations and the environments in which they live, which places the project of social history in conversation with environmental studies and landscape archaeology.
- Roman social, economic, agrarian and legal history, particularly in the late antique period
- Non-elite and marginal populations, especially in rural contexts
- Disasters, their causes, impacts, implications, and aftermaths
- Interactions between human populations and their physical environments
- Legacies of ancient Rome in American cultural, political, and intellectual discourses
Roman Peasant Project, Cinigiano, Tuscany (codirected with Kim Bowes, Mariaelena Ghisleni, and Emanuele Vaccaro)
"Familiarity, Repetition and Quotidian Movement in Roman Tuscany", with J. Mathieu, A. Arnoldus-Huyzendveld, A. Pattachini and M. Ghisleni, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 28.2 (2015).
"Countryside: the Epistula de Rebus Rusticis Hopkinsensis, Introduction, English Text, Commentary and Afterword", in C. Chin and M. Vidas, eds., Late Ancient Knowing: New Intellectual History, University of California Press (2015), 240-58.
"Shock Horror or Same Old Same Old? Everyday violence in Augustine's Africa", Journal of Late Antiquity 6.2 (2013), 216-32.
Constructing Communities in the Late Roman Countryside, Cambridge University Press (2011).
Work in Progress:
"Climate, the Environment and Agricultural Crisis in Late Antique Europe: New Answers to Old Questions or New Questions for Old Answers?"
"Hadrian the Traveler: Motifs and Expressions of Imperial Power in the Vita Hadriani"
"Dimensions of Disaster in the (late) Roman world: the Vesuvius eruption of 472 CE"
(Undergraduate) Ancient Rome; Structures of the Roman Empire; Disasters in the Ancient Mediterranean World
(Graduate) Problems in Roman History; Roman Law; Ancient Economies