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Current Research Students

Alastair Daly

Susannah Ashton

A New Epic Humour: The Influence of Comic Literature on Apollonius’ Argonautica

I studied for a BA in Ancient Greek and English Literature here in Trinity before completing an MPhil in Classics (also in Trinity), with my research focusing on Herodas' Mimiamb 2. My current research as a PhD student is concerned with the influence of Greek comic literature on Apollonius' Argonautica

Supervisor: Martine Cuypers
Funding: IRC Postgraduate Scholarship (2019-23)

Lisa Doyle

Susannah Ashton

Margins of Learning: Exploring the scholia on Apollonius’ Argonautica

The objective of this research project is to explore the scholarly commentaries, which survive mainly as scholia, written about Apollonius Rhodius' 3rd century BCE epic, Argonautica. By investigating the nature of textual criticism in these scholia, and establishing the scholarly interests in Apollonius’ work, I hope to shed light on an important source for ancient intellectual history.

Supervisor: Martine Cuypers
Funding: Provost’s Project Award (2019-2023)

Judith Finlay-McAlester

Judith Finlay-McAlester

The Healing Museum: Using rights-based frameworks to transform museum practice

My PhD ‘The Healing Museum: Using rights-based frameworks to transform museum practice’ explores the healing potential in public cultural spaces when a rights-based approach is utilised. It focuses on three case studies: Cultural restitution and repatriation, exploring the relevant legal frameworks to see how origin communities can be empowered; Increased representation of the LGBTQIA+ and other marginalised communities to create inclusive spaces for everyone; And nurturing knowledge and empathy for animals and the natural world with a rights-based frame.

Supervisors: Dr Christine Morris; Dr Neville Cox
Funding: Part-funded by the National Museum of Irelands Refund of Fees Scheme 2017 - 2019

Dermot Grant

Susannah Ashton

Locating Remote Greek Island Sanctuaries. Nodes on Networks, Waypoints, Seascapes and Enterprise Strategies.

I completed a BA at Trinity in Ancient History and Archaeology and History of Art and Architecture. My research aims to identify the dynamics of location and common models apparent in the establishment of remote island sanctuaries considered diachronically from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. The objective will be to identify the extent to which these dynamics relate to trade networks, navigation factors, seascape environment, local enterprise and resources. My research is informed by my interest in Social Network Analysis, navigation and enterprise studies.

Supervisor: Giorgos Papantoniou
Funding: IIHSA Bursary

Elena Loizou

Susannah Ashton

Ritual architecture and practice in Cypriot sanctuaries: From the Iron Age to Roman period

I received my BA in History and Archaeology, with a specialisation in archaeology, from the University of Cyprus, and subsequently completed the MPhil in Classics in Trinity College Dublin. The objective of my PhD project, which falls under the umbrella of Unlocking Sacred Landscapes (UnSaLa), is to focus on the architectural remains, features and assemblages of Cypriot sanctuaries from the Iron Age to the Roman period, in an attempt to reconstruct ritual architecture and practice in sacred spaces. Ritual when isolated from its context cannot be studied properly thus, the methodology of this thesis is based on reconstructions of ritual actions made by examining the assemblages and spatial distribution of objects in their architectural setting. The innovation of the project lies on the combination of two specific methodologies: a) the intra-site Geographic Information System (GIS) approaches to ritual and cult and b) the adoption of intra-and inter-site materiality approaches.

Supervisor: Giorgos Papantoniou
Funding: Trinity Research Doctorate Award (2023-2027)

Sophie McGurk

Susannah Ashton

'Cultural Fathers': A Study of 'Paternal' Influence as a Critical Theme in Irish Classicism from the 19th Century to Present

I undertook my B.A. degree in English Literature and Classical Civilisation at Trinity College Dublin (2016-2020), which was followed by an M.Phil. in Classics at Trinity College Dublin (2020-2021), for which I was awarded the Huxley Prize. My PhD project examines the very close connection between the Irish Classical Tradition and the Irish literary canon from the 19th century to present, the prolific figures that comprise them, and the many oppositions and tensions that exist within them. One of my main areas of investigation involves an interrogation into the figure of the Irish Classicist and the question of what divides the scholar from the poet or creative writer, seeing as both are so embedded and intertwined in each tradition. Oscar Wilde, a Trinity Classics alumnus, is one of my main focuses as a case-study. Alongside my primary research, I am also actively interested in issues of cultural heritage, literary theory, and classical reception.

Supervisor: Professor Ahuvia Kahane
Funding: IRC Postgraduate Scholarship (2018-22)

Kathryn Murphy

Susannah Ashton

“Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My” (The Wizard of Oz – 1939 film) An interdisciplinary Study of Animals and Spectacle Management in the Roman Empire

I am a PhD candidate from New Zealand researching animal behaviour in Roman spectacles. I completed my Undergraduate and Honours degrees at The University of Auckland where I majored in Classics and Ancient History. My interest is human-animal relations in antiquity, specifically the exploitation of animals for warfare and entertainment. I integrate zoological methodologies in my research by applying my practical experience in wildlife management at Auckland and Dublin Zoo.

Supervisor: Hazel Dodge
Funding: Government of Ireland Global Excellence Scholarship (2018-19), Postgraduate Studentship Award (2020-21)

Eleanor Neil

Susannah Ashton

Inclusion and Multivocality: Evaluating Community Archaeology

I am originally from the US, but have been living in Ireland since 2013. I first studied Ancient History and Archaeology for my Bachelors and then went on to an MPhil in Public History and Cultural Heritage, both at TCD. My project will be examining community archaeology in Cyprus, looking at inclusive methodologies such as multivocal narrative creation and the use of digital spaces as methods of outreach.

Supervisor: Christine Morris

Amy O'Keeffe

Emer O'Hanlon

The (In)Tangible Body: Representations and Scholarly Attitudes Towards Body Modification in the Ancient Mediterranean

I have received both my BA in Ancient History and Archaeology, and my MPhil in Classics at Trinity College. I have worked in commercial Irish archaeology between these two degrees, which allowed me to have a first-hand perspective on how archaeology is both carried out and perceived on the ground. In my MPhil, I researched the archaeology of motherhood, and discovered that I have an affinity for archaeology of the body. In my current research, I wish to examine the body as the first port of call for self-expression.The way we modify our bodies can have a multitude of meanings, and may be interpreted in numerous ways. During the course of my research, I wish to create a searchable database of my research, which will bring greater accessibility to the primary evidence for body modification in the ancient Mediterranean. I wish to look at tattooing, cranial modification, scarification, and any other types of modification that may become evident upon research. I will incorporate a number of different methodologies, including physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, gender theory, and, of course, archaeology.  

Supervisor: Christine Morris

Alexandra O'Neill

Alexandra O'Neill

Embracing Tradition: 100 Years of Fascism and the Classics

I received my BA in Classics from the University of Manchester, and my MPhil, also in Classics, from Trinity College. My PhD research focuses on the history of classical reception by European fascist movements.

Supervisor: Ashley Clements
Funding: IRC Postgraduate Award (2023-2026)

Rory O'Sullivan

Rory O'Sullivan

Thucydides and the Politics of Form

I’m from Cork and have a B.A. in Greek & English Literature and an M.Phil in Medieval Literature, both from Trinity College. My PhD is on the philosophical influences and commitments of Thucydides. Effectively, I'm applying the ontological turn to him. Many people have discussed Thucydides's distance from ‘proto-positivism’ in the way he ordered his text, but I think this is also true of how he understood the reality he writes about. As well as Thucydides and Greek philosophy I like German philosophy, social anthropology, and I write & sometimes publish poetry.   

Supervisor: Ashley Clements
Funding: Trinity College Dublin Foundation Scholarship (2017-22), Ussher Fellowship (2019-23)

Marcelo Oliveira

Susannah Ashton

Nil ad nos de nobis attinet? Why Lucretian palingenesis can change us

Born and educated in Northern Brazil, I completed an undergraduate degree in Portuguese Language and Literature at the State University of Amazonas (2015). Subsequently, I obtained my Master’s degree in Linguistics from the State University of Campinas (2018). Having spent some years lecturing on Cicero’s rhetoric in my home country, now I have come to Trinity College Dublin to start a new research project on Lucretius Philosophy. My current focus is to explore Epicurean recurrence as a thought experiment to ponder our actions and further expand the reflections on personal identity and ethical dilemmas.

Supervisor: Monical Gale
Funding: John Dillon Fellowship (2022-2023)

Mia Pancotti

Susannah Ashton

A Cognitive Model for Reading in Ancient Greece

After completing both BA and MA in Classics at the University of Siena, I spent a year in Paris at the Centre AnHiMA (EHESS) where I worked with the academic journal Mètis

My research investigates the phenomenon of reading in ancient Greece from an interdisciplinary perspective integrating Cognitive Neuroscience and Classics.

Writing, which increasingly crowded the ancient visual environment, had no spaces between words, was initially boustrophedon (alternating the lines in opposite directions) and made extensive use of graphic formulae and visual clues. If reading constitutes an involuntary psychophysical habit for us, how was this skill configured for a society in which writing interacted with orality and where only a few individuals were educated in literacy? The recent scientific discoveries coming from the ‘Science of Reading’, if well situated in literary/semantic and paraliterary/epigraphic evidence, may attempt to restore a proper neurocognitive weight to this phenomenon.

Supervisor: Ahuvia Kahane
Funding: IRC Postgraduate Scholarship (2023-27)

Mnemosyne Rice

Mnemosyne Rice

Decolonising Minoan Archaeology: Museum Perspectives Past and Present

I received my BA in Ancient History and Archaeology and Latin from Trinity, and recently completed an MSc in Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture in University College Dublin. My PhD research analyses the display of Minoan artefacts in major museums, with a focus on how these exhibitions privilege dominant cultural narratives. I employ postcolonial theory and museum studies to explore the reception and exploitation of Minoan material culture.

Supervisor: Dr Christine Morris
Funding: Provost's Award

Samantha Sink

Samantha Sink

Oikoumenic Conquest: Alexander and His Influence on Geography in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds

I completed my Bachelor of Arts at The College of Idaho (USA), where I majored in History and double minored in Classics and Journalism. I received my research master’s degree at Utrecht University (Netherlands).

My PhD project aims to investigate how Eratosthenes’ study of geography was impacted by political traditions and discourses of oikoumenic conquest that existed under imperial rule in the Hellenistic World, and in return, how the invention and study of geography affected political discourses in the Roman world. These traditions and ideologies of conquest were influenced by Alexander the Great. Eratosthenes’ Geographika changed the empire by anchoring math as a common language and used math as a way to define the physical world. The theoretical and practical applications of this research bring together textual sources, ancient Greek mathematics, and the politics of the Hellenistic world in order to study Eratosthenes’ geographical influence on Roman imperial ideologies of empire. This project is interdisciplinary and combines literary sources, archaeological evidence, GIS, and applied mathematics.

My other research interest includes numismatics, ancient ships and sailing, Later Roman Empire, Roman Eastern Empire 300-550 AD, and foreigners and borderlands.

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Supervisor: Shane Wallace
Funding: PhD Provost Award

Rongzhen Xue

Rongzhen Xue

“The Concept of hamartia in Sino-Hellenic Comparison: A Comparative Study on a Specific Ethical Concept of Error“

I acquired a Master's Degree in Ancient World History at Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China (the title of dissertation: Semantic Analysis and Interpretation of Greek Word ἁμαρτία). Now I am pursuing a Ph.D. on the concept of hamartia in ancient Greek and its parallel concepts in ancient Chinese to explore a comparative study on this concept. My research focuses on the Greek tragedy and philosophy concerning hamartia in Aristotle's Poetics, as well as sino-hellenic comparative study.

Supervisor: Ashley Clements