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William A Johnson, Professor and Chair

William A Johnson

William A. Johnson works broadly in the cultural history of Greece and Rome, with particular interest in ancient books, readers, and reading, and with a general interest in how literary pursuits intersect with cultural context in antiquity.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  236 Allen Building
Office Phone:  (919) 684-2082
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2019):

  • CLST 171S.01, BIRTH OF THE WEST Synopsis
    Social Sciences 109, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as HISTORY 150S.01)
Teaching (Fall 2019):

    Allen 229, MWF 01:40 PM-02:30 PM
Office Hours:

Office hours TuTh 3:00-4:00 PM, by chance, or by appointment 
Office Location: Allen 229B

Ph.D.Yale University1992
M.A. in Greek LiteratureUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill1981
BA in English Literature & Latin LiteratureOberlin College1978
Research Interests:

Greek historiography; Greek and Roman literature and cultural history; ancient books and readers; ancient music; literary papyri


Athens (Greece)--Intellectual life • Books and reading • Libraries • Literature and society • manuscripts, greek (papyri) • Manuscripts, Greek (papyri) • Music, Greek and Roman • Readers • Second Sophistic movement

Curriculum Vitae  Bio
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Johnson, W, Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome, edited by Johnson, WA; Parker, H (2009, paperback with corrections 2011), pp. 1-448, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199793983 [doi]  [abs] [author's comments]
  2. Johnson, WA, Bookrolls and scribes in oxyrhynchus (2004, paperback reprint 2013), pp. 1-414, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 9781442671515  [abs] [author's comments]
  3. Johnson, WA, The Oxyrhynchus Distributions in America: Papyri and Ethics, BASP (2012 (appeared Fall 2013))
  4. Johnson, WA, Libraries and Reading Culture in the High Empire, in Ancient Libraries, edited by Woolf, G (2013), Cambridge University Press
  5. Johnson, WA, Pliny epistle 9.36 and Demosthenes' cave, The Classical World, vol. 106 no. 4 (2013), pp. 665-688  [abs]
  6. Johnson, WA, Cicero and Tyrannio: Mens addita videtur meis aedibus (ad Atticum iv.8.2), Classical World, vol. 105 no. 4 (2012), pp. 471-477
  7. WILLIAM A. JOHNSON,, TEACHING THE CHILDREN HOW TO READ: THE SYLLABARY, The Classical Journal, vol. 106 no. 4 (2011), pp. 445-445, Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Inc (CAMWS) [doi]
  8. Johnson, WA, The Ancient Book, in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, edited by Bagnall, R (2009), Oxford University Press
  9. Johnson, WA, Hesiod's Theogony: Reading the Proem as a Priamel, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, vol. 46 no. 3 (2008), pp. 231-235
  10. Johnson, WA, The Posidippus Papyrus: Bookroll and Reader, in The New Posidippus: A Hellenistic Poetry Book, edited by Gutzwiller, K (2005), Oxford University Press
  11. Johnson, WA, Reading cultures and education, in Reading Between the Lines: New Perspectives on Foreign Language Literacies, edited by Patrikis, P (2002), Yale University Press
  12. Johnson, WA, New instrumental music from Graeco-Roman Egypt, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, vol. 37 (2001), pp. 17-36 (Appeared 2001.)
  13. Johnson, WA, Musical Evenings in the Early Empire: New Evidence from a Greek Papyrus with Musical Notation, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. 120 (2000), pp. 57-85, Cambridge University Press (CUP) [doi]  [abs]
  14. Johnson, WA, Toward a sociology of reading in classical antiquity, American Journal of Philology, vol. 121 (2000), pp. 593-627 (Appeared 2001. Winner of the 2000 Gildersleeve Prize..)
  15. Johnson, WA, Dramatic Frame and Philosophic Idea in Plato, The American Journal of Philology, vol. 119 (1998), pp. 577-598
  16. Johnson, WA, Oral Performance and the Composition of Herodotus' Histories, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, vol. 35 (1994), pp. 229-254 (appeared Fall 1995.)
Conferences Organized

  • AAH Panel, "The History of Books and Reading in Greco-Roman Antiquity", May, 2012  
  • Semple Symposium, Constructing Literacy among the Greeks and Romans, Organizer, April, 2006  
  • APA panel on "Classics, Computers, and Pedagogy, Organizer, December, 1996  
  • APA panel on "Classics and the Internet", Organizer, December, 1995  

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