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José M. González, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

José M. González

Classical antiquity is a marvelous stomping ground for a curious mind. Ever since I started to learn about ancient Greece and Rome, my passion for them has only grown. I am fascinated by the parallels and contrasts they offer to our own times and way of life. I have often found there the most searching and illuminating explorations of the central questions that define us as moral agents and as a free people. Vigorous engagement with the past is essential if we are to transcend the limitations of our horizons.

As a field of study, the Greco-Roman world strongly encourages, if it does not outright require, a rich fusion of various disciplinary approaches. This perfectly suits my natural intellectual temper. I feel a strong affinity and a deep sympathy with the fearless ancient souls who, undeterred by the magnitude of their questions, bravely searched for answers wherever they lay. Following the lead of a particular problem, I have often made my way into specialties, methodologies, and domains that I was little acquainted with before. I find that joyous discovery and learning do not exhaust wonder (as some read Aristotle to say): they excite it. I am convinced that the best engine for a scholar is a comprehensive curiosity and a passion to share his own enthusiasm and delight. To these, I strive to join a fearless and patient interrogating of the evidence, and the ambition to integrate the answers into wide-ranging syntheses.

My research focuses on Greek literature in its social context, with a strong emphasis on intellectual history. I am interested in the systemic evolution of culture through its artifacts, practices, and institutions, including its social performances and rituals. This, I call the diachrony of culture. A fundamental dynamic of this evolution is the reception of earlier stages by later cultural agents, a dynamic that is modulated expressively by the semantic device of markedness. Initially developed in the context of linguistic analysis, I find markedness essential to the understanding of the diachrony of culture.

My publications, teaching, and academic advising reflect the breadth of my interests. I have published on archaic Greek and Hellenistic poetry, Greek rhetoric, Greek philosophy, and Hebrew and Aramaic literature. I have directed dissertations on Democritus and Homer. And I regularly teach on Greco-Roman science and technology, Greco-Roman medicine, and Greek religion.

Areas of Interest

Greek poetry, archaic to Hellenistic. Ancient rhetoric and literary criticism. Performance studies. Greek religion, myth, and ritual. Historical linguistics and Greek dialects. Ancient commentaries and scholia.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  230 Allen Building, Duke Box 90103, Durham, NC 27708
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2023):

    Allen 103, MW 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as ETHICS 214.01, GLHLTH 238.01)
  • GREEK 520S.01, EPIC Synopsis
    Allen 229, MW 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Teaching (Spring 2024):

    Allen 229, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
  • GREEK 524S.01, GREEK LYRIC Synopsis
    Allen 229, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Office Hours:

Zoom, by appointment.

Ph.D. Harvard University2005
M.A. Harvard University2000
Post-Baccalaureate in Classical StudiesUniversity of Pennsylvania1997
Ph.D.Princeton University1995
M.A.Princeton University1991
B.S.California Institute of Technology1989
Research Interests:

Greek poetry (archaic to Hellenistic); ancient rhetoric and literary criticism; performance studies; Greek religion; historical linguistics; Greek dialects; ancient commentaries and scholia.

Areas of Interest:

Greek poetry (archaic to Hellenistic)
Ancient rhetoric and literary criticism
Performance studies
Greek religion
Historical linguistics and Greek dialects
Ancient commentaries and scholia

Curriculum Vitae  Bio
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Joseph G. Miller  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. González, JM, The Aristotelian psychology of tragic mimesis, in The Poetics in Its Aristotelian Context, edited by Heath, M; Munteanu, D, vol. 64 (January, 2019), pp. 172-245, Cambridge University Press [doi]  [abs]
  2. González, JM, Homer and the Alphabet, in The Cambridge Homer, edited by Pache, C (2016)
  3. González, JM, Rhapsodes and the Homêridai, in The Cambridge Homer, edited by Pache, C (2016)
  4. González, JM, Hesiod and Homer, in The Cambridge Homer, edited by Pache, C (2016)
  5. González, JM, Hesiod and the Disgraceful Shepherds: Pastoral Politics in a Panhellenic Dichterweihe?, in Anthony Snodgrass Festschrift, edited by Bintliff, J; Rutter, K (2016)  [abs]
Conferences Organized

  • Conference organizer, Diachrony: Diachronic Aspects of Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, 2009  

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