Staff in the Classical Studies discipline at The Open University have expertise in a wide range of subjects and themes from the Greek and Roman world, including: archaeology, art and sculpture; epic, lyric poetry, tragedy and comedy; historiography and philosophy; popular culture and social history; reception studies; spatial classics and digital humanities. Our main research areas include:
- ancient and modern reception of classical antiquity
- digital and spatial classics
- Greek and Latin texts
- Greek and Roman material culture
- the ancient body
- ancient material religion.
The research areas overlap in important respects and this informs debate and collaboration across themes as well as providing opportunities for exchange with researchers in other subject areas. We encourage applications for research that is based in any of these areas, particularly projects that work across areas. Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours or equivalent qualification, and an MA or research experience or recent publications.
Research has been recognised by funding grants or fellowship awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, JISC, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, TOPOI: the Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations, and Google. Staff members also have leading roles in internationally funded projects such as the Linkage project in Australia (Classics and Theatre), the European Network of Research in Greek Drama, the Classical Reception Studies Network and EuGeStA (Gender Studies in Antiquity).
The UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) (2014) feedback highlighted the outstanding contributions by classical studies staff on the national and international research environment, and we aim to ensure that all our research students have the chance to benefit from and contribute to international debates in their field.
- Current fully funded studentships include the Michael Comber Studentship in Classical Reception (funded jointly with University of Oxford) and Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC studentships.
- Part-time research students are fully integrated into the Classical Studies research environment, including regular research days and opportunities to attend conferences and present papers.
- The discipline is home to the new Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion, bringing together scholars from the OU and beyond to investigate material aspects of religion in the Greek and Roman worlds.
- The discipline hosts the Classical Reception Studies Network, an international collaboration of researchers working on classical reception.
- The discipline hosts a suite of digital webmapping resources for exploring the cultural geography of Herodotus’s Histories (the Hestia project), including a visualisation platform for reading texts and maps alongside each other, which can be adapted for use with any other classical author. It is also a major hub for the Pelagios project, which, by linking online resources about ancient places (from both academic projects and major cultural heritage organisations), is transforming how the ancient world can be studied.
The Open University Library is particularly strong in the provision of electronic resources to which research students have access whether working on or off campus.
Research students in classical studies are also encouraged to join the Hellenic or Roman Societies. These societies have a joint library based at the Institute of Classical Studies in London. This is an internationally leading research library. Student membership of either of the societies provides borrowing rights (including postal borrowing).