Texas Tech University

Claiming Cleopatra: Race and the Study of Classical Antiquity

Dr. Denise E. McCoskey

Professor of Classics and Affiliate in Black World Studies, Miami University.

Classical historians have long understood the power of collective identity in the ancient world, but they have increasingly avoided the terminology of “race” in studying such phenomena. Such considerations are at the heart of this lecture. Dr. McCoskey argues that “race” remains critical to the study of antiquity, although she asserts that we need to distinguish ancient racial frameworks from our own modern ones. Examination of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra sheds light on the misconceptions that have plagued modern debates about ancient race, but she also provides the grounds for establishing a deeper understanding of the role of race in classical antiquity.

Dr. McCoskey has written extensively on the politics of race in antiquity, and in 2009 she won the American Philological Association Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level. She is the author of Race: Antiquity and Its Legacy (Oxford University Press, 2012) and co-author with Zara Martirosova Torlone of the forthcoming book Latin Love Poetry (I. B. Tauris, 2014). With Emily Zakin she co-edited Bound by the City: Greek Tragedy, Sexual Difference, and the Formation of the Polis (State University of New York Press, 2010). Dr. McCoskey received a B.A. in Classics and Archaeology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from Duke University.

Dr. McCoskey's lecture was held in auditorium 281 of the Media and Communication Building at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, April 30, 2013.

This event was cosponsored by the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures.

The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization