I am an assistant professor in the Department of Classics at Berkeley. I previously taught at the University of Cincinnati and I was educated at Trinity College Dublin and Harvard.
I study the religious and intellectual history of the Roman Republic and Early Empire. My first book, Legible Religion, was published in May 2016. It argues that learned books that were written in the first century BCE by intellectuals like Varro, Cicero, Nigidius Figulus and a cast of Roman elites played an important role in the formation of the concept of “Roman religion”. As well as providing the first history of Roman books on traditional religion, I also address a much broader historical question of how we can understand the role of text in religion without relying on the concept of Scripture.
The topic of my first book has led me to pursue several lines of research. I am working on the history of ancient “antiquarianism”, on the pluralistic religious culture of Roman Italy and on the question of Roman rationality. Like many ancient historians, I take a mix of empirical and theoretical approaches to my subject matter. Inspired by Marcel Detienne’s injunction to compare the incomparable, I am particularly interested in the potential of cross-cultural comparison to help us understand antiquity.
Some of my work is linked from the Publications section of the CV page on this site.