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Brown University Mellon-Sawyer Seminar, “Animal Magnetism: The Emotional Ecology of Animals and Humans"

Susan E. Alcock teaches at Brown University, where she serves as Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Joukowsky Family Professor in Archaeology, and Professor of Classics.  She is a classical archaeologist, with interests in the material culture of the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia, particularly in Hellenistic and Roman times. Much of her research to date has revolved around themes of landscape, imperialism, sacred space, and memory. She has been involved with fieldwork in Greece and Armenia, but is now co-directing the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP), exploring numerous aspects of the urban site and rural hinterland of Petra in southern Jordan.  Her more recent books, solo authored and edited, include: Archaeologies of the Greek Past: Landscape, Monuments and Memory (Cambridge 2001), which won the Spiro Kostof Award from the Society of Architectural Historians; Pausanias: Travel and Memory in Roman Greece (New York 2001); Empires: Perspectives from History and Archaeology (Cambridge 2001); The Archaeology of Memory (Oxford 2003); Side-by-Side Survey: Comparative Regional Analysis in the Mediterranean Region (Oxford 2004); Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology: Classical Archaeology (Oxford 2007, 2nd ed. 2012);andHighways, Byways and Road Systems in the Ancient World (New York 2012).  Alcock is a 2001 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was recently elected a Corresponding Member of the British Academy.


John Bodel teaches at Brown University, where he serves as W. Duncan MacMillan II Professor of Classics and Professor of History. He specializes in ancient Roman social, economic, and cultural history, Roman epigraphy, and Latin literature, and has particular interests in ancient slavery, funerals and burial customs, writing systems, Roman religion, the editing of Latin epigraphic and literary texts, and prose authors of the first three centuries CE. Much of his research involves inscriptions, and since 1995 he has directed the U.S. Epigraphy Project, the purpose of which is to gather and share information about Greek and Latin inscriptions preserved in the USA ( His books (authored, edited, and co-edited) include Graveyards and Groves. A Study of the Lex Lucerina (1994), Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient History from Inscriptions (2001; Polish translation 2008), Household and Family Religion in Antiquity: Contextual and Comparative Perspectives, with Saul Olyan (2008), Dediche sacre nel mondo Greco–Romano: Diffusione, funzioni, tipologie, with Mika Kajava (2009), and Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre–Modern World, with Susan E. Alcock and Richard J. Talbert (2012). He has been a Fellow (1983) and Resident (2006) of the American Academy in Rome, a Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick (2012), and the recipient of research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation. In May and June 2014 he will serve a term as R. D. Milns Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland.


Stephen Houston teaches at Brown University, where he serves as Dupee Family Professor of Social Sciences and Professor of Anthropology.  A MacArthur Fellow, Houston specializes in Classic Maya civilization and comparative studies of royal courts and kingship, Houston is the author of, among other works, The Memory of Bones: Body, Being, and Experience among the Classic Maya (with David Stuart and Karl Taube), Hieroglyphs and History at Dos Pilas, The Classic Maya (with Takeshi Inomata), Maya Glyphs, The Life Within: Classic Maya and the Matter of Permanence (to be published in 2014), and over 150 articles, book chapters, and reviews; he has also edited The First Writing Script Invention as History and Process, and, with colleagues, The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing and Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya.  A recent exhibit catalogue, Fiery Pool: Maya and the Mythic Sea, for a show that traveled to the Peabody-Essex Museum, the Kimbell Museum, and the St. Louis Museum of Art, reports on the ecological aesthetics of the Maya as part of a terrestrial civilization that, in cosmic terms, focused equally on the ambient sea. In 2011, the President of Guatemala awarded Houston the Grand Cross of the Order of the Quetzal, that country's highest decoration. He has also held fellowships from Dumbarton Oaks, the School of American Research, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Clark Institute, the American Philosophical Society, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and received research grants from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Geographic Society, and the National Science Foundation.