Graduate Program Director, Department of Literature
|Affiliations||Classical Studies, |
Feminist Studies Department,
Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
|Phone||831 423 7617|
|Web Site|| Mortailty: Facing Death in Ancient Greece|
The History of Mortality: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
T.B. L. Webster Fellowship 2016-17
|Office Hours||Spring 2016: Wed. 1:30 to 3 and by appt.|
|Campus Mail Stop||Cowell Academic Services|
Greek and Latin literatures; gender; literary and cultural theory; pre- and early modern studies; historiography; visual and performance studies, mortality studies.
Biography, Education and Training
Karen Bassi received her BA in Classics from UCSC in 1980 and her Ph.D. in Classics from Brown University in 1987. She has taught at UCSC since 1989 where she is Professor of Classics and Literature. She served as chair of the Literature Department (2008-2012), as Director of the Classics Program, and as director of the EAP Program in the Netherlands. She has also served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Faculty Welfare, as Senior Co-Chair of the Women's Classical Caucus of the American Philological Association, and on the editorial board of Classical Antiquity. She is currently the Greek editor for the American Journal of Philology (beginning July 1, 2014) and recently completed a three-year term on the Program Committee of the American Philological Association. Her principal areas of research and teaching are ancient Greek literature and historiography. In addition to articles on a wide variety of topics in ancient Greek literature and history, she is the author of Acting Like Men, Gender, Drama and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece (University of Michigan Press, 1998) and co-editor, with Peter Euben, of When Worlds Elide: Classics, Politics, Culture (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). Her most recent book, titled Traces of the Past: Classics Between History and Archaeology, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2016. The book is a study of visual perception as a source of knowledge about the past in ancient Greek epic, history, and drama. It explores how the visual experiences of characters and narrators in these genres provide insight into the process of accessing and giving meaning to the past. The book is aimed at opening up a dialogue between Classicists who study texts (philologists and historians) and those who study material or visual sources (archaeologists). It also engages with topics of general importance for humanities research; the dominance of vision in making truth claims, the role of language in distinguishing fiction from fact, and the criteria for establishing the reality of the past. Her current research focuses on the ways in which the fact of human mortality is a distinctive variable in ancient Greek literature and culture. She is the Principal Investigator for an NEH Institute on this topic in Athens in summer 2014 and for an interdisciplinary Residency Group at the University of California Humanities Research Institute in fall 2015.
Honors, Awards and Grants
National Endowment for the Humanities, Faculty Research Fellowhip (2017-18)
T.B.L. Webster Fellowship, Institute of Classical Studies, University College London (2016-17)
NEH Summer Institute: "The History of Mortality: Facing Death in Ancient Greece" ($200,000), summer 2014.
UCHRI Group Residency: "The History of Mortality from Antiquity to the Digital Age: Interdisciplinary Approaches" (fall 2014)
Faculty Research Fellowship, Institute for Humanities Research, UCSC (2002)
Associate Research Fellow, Center for Hellenic Studies (1999)
UC President's Fellowship in the Humanities (1992)
- Books and Monographs
- Traces of the Past: Classics Between History and Archaeology (University of Michigan Press 2016).
- 1998 Acting Like Men, Gender, Drama and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece (University of Michigan Press, 1998). Reviews S. Goldhill in Phoenix; P. Wilson in Classical Philology.
- Edited Volumes
- 2010 When Worlds Elide: Classics, Politics, Culture. Co-edited with Peter Euben. Rowman and Littlefield (Gregory Nagy, Series Editor).
- 2003 Special volume of Parallax (Routledge) titled De-Classifying Hellenism, Cultural Studies and the Classics, with Peter Euben.
- Articles in Professional Journals
- 2013 "Euphemisms, Efficiencies, Interdisciplines," in Occasion, an online journal edited by David Palumbo-Liu.
- 2011 "Seeing the Past/Reading the Past," in edd. Jonathan Carson and Rosie Miller, Image [&] Narrative 12, No. 3 (2011) pp. 29-50. Online journal: www.imageandnarrative.be.
- 2007 "Spatial Contingencies in Thucydides' History," Classical Antiquity 26, (2007) 171-218. 2005 "Things of the Past: Objects and Time in Greek Narrative." Arethusa 38 (2005) 1-32.
- 1999 “Nostos, Domos and the Architecture of the Ancient Stage,” South Atlantic Quarterly 98 (1999) 415-449.
- 1997 "Orality, Masculinity and the Greek Epic," Arethusa (1997) pp. 315-340. 1995 "Male Nudity and Disguise in the Discourse of Greek Histrionics," Helios 22 (1995) 1-20.
- 1993 "Desired Silence: Mors and Amor in Tibullus 1.1," Classica Syllecta 5 (1993) pp. 1-9. "Helen and the Discourse of Denial in Stesichorus' Palinode," Arethusa, 26 (1993) pp. 51-76.
- 1989 "The Poetics of Exclusion in Callimachus' Hymn to Apollo," Transactions of the American Philological Association 119 (1989) pp. 221-231. "The Actor as Actress in Euripides' Alcestis," Themes in Drama 11 (Cambridge University Press, 1989) pp.19-30.
- CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
- Forthcoming Mimêsis, Mortality, and Re-performance: The Dead among the Living in Hecuba and Hamlet. In edd. Richard Hunter and Anna Uhlig, New Approaches to Ancient Reperformance. Cambridge University Press.
- 2016 "Fading into the Future: Visibility and Legibility in Thucydides History." In ed. Alexandra Lianeri, The Futures of Greek Historiography. De Gruyter, 215-241.
- 2014 "Homer's Achaean Wall and the Hypothetical Past." In ed. V. Wohl, Probabilities, Hypotheticals, and Counterfactuals in Ancient Greek Thought. Cambridge University Press, 122-141
- 2014 "Croesus' Offerings and the Value of the Past in Herodotus' Histories." In edd. James Ker and Christoph Pieper, Valuing the Past in the Greco-Roman World. Brill, 172-195.
- 2010 “Making Prometheus Speak: Dialogue, Torture, and the Power of Secrets in Prometheus Bound.” In edd. Karen Bassi and Peter Euben, When Words Elide (Rowman and Littlefield) 77-110.
- 2009 "Zeus' Stone: Objects and Time in the Delphic Landscape." In edd. L. Athanasakis, J. Miller, R. Martin, Apolline Politics and Poetics (European Cultural Centre of Delphi) 109-126.
- 2009 "Epic Remains: Seeing and Time in the Odyssey." In ed. Tyrus Miller, Given World and Time: Temporalities in Context. (Central European U. Press 2009) 25-46. 2007 "The Eye of Helen: Autopsy and the Gendering of Emotions in Early Greek Poetry." In edd. Verena Meyer and Daniela Rippl, Gender Feelings (Fink Verlag, München) 193-213.
- 2005 "Visuality and Temporality: Reading the Tragic Script." The Soul of Tragedy. Eds. Steven Oberhelman and Victoria Pedrick. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. 251-270.
- 2003 "The Semantics of Manliness in Ancient Greece." In Andreia,Studies in Manliness and Courage in Classical Antiquity, edited by Ineke Sluiter and Ralph Rosen (Brill 2003) 25-58.
- # 2013 UCLA, Classics Department: "Homer's Achaean Wall and the Hypothetical Past." (March 2013)
- # 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association: "Croesus' Offerings and the Value of the Past in Herodotus' Histories."
- # 2012 Leiden University, Penn/Leiden Conference on Ancient Values: "Croesus' Offerings and the Value of the Past in Herodotus' Histories."
- # 2011 Kings College London, Classics Seminar: "Tragedy in the Time of Reading."
- # 2014 UC Working Group in the Philosophy of Perception: Awareness of Space. UC San Diego: "Fading into the Future: Visibility and Legibility in Thucydides History."
My teaching areas are principally in Greek literature and culture; I also teach Latin literature. I am interested in social and temporal relations and questions pertaining to the meaning of the past, both in its ancient forms and in contemporary disciplines. Other teaching interests include the causes and justifications of war in the ancient historians, the relationship between gender and the emotions in Greek epic and tragedy, and human mortality as a factor in ancient cultural production.