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Inaugural Lecture of Professor Emma Stafford

Inaugural Lecture
Public Lecture
Tuesday 6 December 2022, 17:00
Hybrid (UoL Campus and Online)

We are delighted to announce Inaugural Lecture of Professor Emma Stafford, on Tuesday 6th December 2022 at 17:00. This will be a hybrid event; guests will be able to attend in person in the Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, or join us via the live stream. The title of Emma’s lecture is: ‘Embodying values, telling stories: ancient Greek culture and its legacy’ and you can find full details on Emma’s abstract and biography below. Please note that this event will be recorded.

There will be a drinks reception to follow the lecture in the Terrace Bar, Leeds University Union.

Please email to be sent the event invitation, complete with joining instructions for those attending remotely.


In this lecture I look back over 30 years’ study of ancient Greek culture and its post-classical reception.  My approach has always drawn on a wide variety of textual and visual media, with careful consideration of the relationship between word and image, in an attempt to get at the experience of the woman, child, resident-alien and slave in the street – as well as that of the elite citizen man.  My interests fall into two major areas: the expression of social values and other intangible concepts in human (usually female) form, particularly the concept/goddess Nemesis; and the transmission of Greek myth, especially the myriad stories associated with the hero Herakles (Hercules to the Romans).  I hope to show that both areas, while well worth studying for their intrinsic interest, have had a pervasive influence on later cultures, and are still in evidence today.  A third area of interest, in ancient Greek sexuality, is particular to its time and place, but still has something to contribute to modern debates.


About Emma:

Emma has been Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Leeds since March 2020, having previously been Senior Lecturer (from August 2005) and Lecturer in Classics (from January 2000).  Before this she was Lecturer in Classics at the University of Wales Lampeter (from September 1995).  At Leeds she has been Head of Department for Classics (2007-10 and 2013-14), Classics’ Director of Research and UoA Leader for REF 2014 (2011-13), and Deputy Head of School for Languages, Cultures and Societies (August 2016-July 2019), and is now the School’s Director of Impact (August 2021-).

Beyond the University, Emma has had leadership roles in two of Classics’ main UK learned societies. From April 2011 to 2018 she was Honorary Secretary of the Classical Association, having previously (April 2004 to April 2011) been the Association’s Publicity Officer, following on from her successful coordination of the Classical Association’s major annual conference at Lampeter (1998) and Leeds (2004).  Overlapping with her first CA officer role, from June 2005 to May 2008 she was Honorary Secretary of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

In the last ten years Emma has given invited papers at conferences not only across the UK, but also in Brest, Geneva, Tel Aviv, Munich, Delphi, Patras, Dublin, San Diego, Nicosia and Komotini.  In addition to numerous articles and chapters on Greek myth, religion, iconography and sexuality, and the reception of Greek culture in modern media, Emma is author of the monographs Worshipping Virtues: personification and the divine in ancient Greece (Classical Press of Wales/Duckworth 2000) and Herakles (Routledge 2012), and is co-editor with J.E. Herrin of Personification in the Greek World: from Antiquity to Byzantium(Centre for Hellenic Studies series no. 7, Ashgate 2005). She is coordinator of the international, interdisciplinary project ‘Hercules: a Hero for All Ages’, and co-editor of its four volumes, which are published in Brill's series Metaforms: Studies in the Reception of Classical Antiquity.  She is currently working on the monograph Nemesis: from classical goddess to a concept of retribution (London: Bloomsbury Academic forthcoming 2024).

Emma’s research very much feeds into, and is fed by, her teaching at Leeds, e.g. on the modules Greek Religion, Greek Art and Society, and Screening Antiquity.  Her experience in student education is reflected in invitations to be external examiner or participate in undergraduate/taught Masters curriculum reviews at as many as nine UK and Irish institutions to date.  She also has a longstanding commitment to communicating her subject to non-specialists, giving talks to school or public audiences e.g. at the British Museum and Fitzwilliam Museum, and authoring Ancient Greece: Life, Myth and Art (London: Duncan Baird 2004).