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Biographical Info of Micaela W. Janan

      Micaela W. Janan, associate professor of Classical Studies, joined Duke University as an assistant professor in 1990 after receiving a PhD. in comparative literature and classics from Princeton University.  Professor Janan’s courses examine Latin and Greek literature from the point of view of modern literary theory, in particular the poetry of the late Roman Republic and early Empire. Using the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, as well as the work of Continental feminists, Professor Janan explicates the concept of “desire” at both the personal and societal level. For example, her course on Sexuality in the Ancient World examines ancient erotic poetry and prose in an approach that treats sexuality as a language in which other business is transacted. Viewed thus, literature often dismissed as too frivolous or too obscene for serious scholarly consideration becomes primary evidence for the way the Ancients constructed, not only men and women, or even sexuality, but social allegiances, national prerogatives, and identity.  

     Professor Janan has published three books that reflect her Lacanian approach to the study of the Roman poets: Reflections in a Serpent's Eye: Thebes in Ovid's Metamorphoses (2009); The Politics of Desire:  Propertius IV (2001), and “When the Lamp is Shattered”: Desire and Narrative In Catullus (1994), as well as a wide range of articles and papers. 

     Professor Janan has served on the Arts and Sciences Council at Duke, and as an officer of the Women’s Classical Caucus. The WCC is national organization of scholars working to foster feminist and gender-informed perspectives in the study and teaching of all aspects of ancient Mediterranean cultures and classical antiquity and to advance the goals of equality and diversity within the profession of Classics.

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