Texas Tech University

Are We Rome or Greece? America's Infatuation with Classical Antiquity

Dr. Caroline Winterer

Director of the Stanford Humanities Center, Anthony P. Meier Family Professorship in the Humanities, Professor of History and, by courtesy, Professor of Classics, Stanford University.

Is the United States an aggressive empire or a peaceful republic? Do we primarily model ourselves after ancient Rome or ancient Greece? Those are questions Americans have asked themselves since the founding of the United States, according to Dr. Caroline Winterer of Stanford University. Her talk explores why Americans since the founding era have found the ancient world to be relevant to modern questions, and why they continue to do so today, especially in the wake of 9/11.

Dr. Winterer was appointed Director of the Stanford Humanities Center in September 2013. A historian of early America, she holds the Anthony P. Meier Family Professorship in the Humanities and is Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics. She joined the Stanford faculty in 2004. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Michigan and her B.A. with honors from Pomona College in 1988.

Winterer specializes in the transmission of ideas between Europe and the Americas in the era from Columbus to the Civil War. The author of 3 books and over 30 articles, her research interests include the American Enlightenment, ideas about ancient Rome and Greece, art and material culture, and political thought. She is currently writing a book called The American Enlightenment that will be published by Yale University Press.

Her publications include The Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition, 1750-1900 (2007) and The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910 (2002), as well as articles in the Journal of American History, the William and Mary Quarterly, the American Quarterly, the Journal of the Early Republic and Modern Intellectual History. Winterer recently curated two exhibits of rare books and artifacts: the exhibit Ancient Rome & America at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2010 and also The American Enlightenment at Stanford's Green Library in 2011. She has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and the Spencer Foundation, among others.

Her work in Digital Humanities, which mapped the social network of Benjamin Franklin, was awarded an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution in 2013.

Dr. Winterer's lecture was held in the Escondido Theater at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, September 18, 2014.

The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization