Kathy L. Gaca
Associate Professor of Classical and Mediterranean Studies
Research Area Interests
Major research interests in Greek and Roman philosophy, mainly Platonic, Stoic, Pythagorean, and Peripatetic ethics; Greek, Roman, and biblical history and social values; socially normative ideas in the Greek biblical traditions (Septuagint and New Testament); Philonic and patristic ethics; all of which are related to my main driving interest in historically grounded ethics, that is, concerns of social injustice rooted in antiquity that remain problematic in the present day and need a clearer philosophical and historical understanding. This includes my current book research on the sexual trajectory of ravaging warfare against women and girls, which is rooted in antiquity, was recognized as problematic by the Peripatetics and Peripatetic-influenced historians and biographers, and remains a modern-day problem. Philology and comparative historical linguistics are among my research tools for approaching ethics historically.
Teaching interests in all of the above, as well as teaching and secondary research interests in Presocratic philosophy; Greek tragedy; Greek and Roman myth, epic, and lyric; women in antiquity; and material culture.
Women, war, and emergent humanitarian concerns in antiquity and the modern day.
Current and Recent Appointments
Vanderbilt University, Associate Professor of Classics
Princeton University, Hannah Seeger Davis Post-doctoral Fellow in Hellenic Studies, 1996-97
Greco-Roman History, Social Values and Ethics, Greek Biblical Studies, Women in Antiquity
- The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univeristy of California Press, Hellenistic Culture and Society Series. For further information click here, and see The Times Literary Supplement review by Kate Cooper, 5 November 2004, page 14.
Edited essay collection
- Early Patristic Readings of Romans, edited by Kathy L. Gaca and L. L. Welborn. Romans through History and Cultures Series. New York: T & T Clark International, 2006.
Book in progress and near completion
- Sexual Warfare Against Girls and Women: Ancient History, Modern Witness, Overpowering Injustice.
Refereed journal articles
- "Martial Rape, Pulsating Fear, and the Sexual Maltreatment of Girls (paides), Virgins (parthenoi), and Women (gynaikes) in Antiquity," American Journal of Philology 135 (2014), 303-57.
- "Telling the Girls from the Boys and Children: Interpreting παῖδες in the Sexual Violence of Populace-Ravaging Ancient Warfare," Illinois Classical Studies 35-36, published 2013.
- "Manhandled and Kicked Around: Reinterpreting the Etymology and Significance of andrapoda," Indogermanische Forschungen 116 (2011), 110-46, published 2012.
- "The Andrapodizing of War Captives in Greek Historical Memory," Transactions of the American Philological Association 140 (2010), 117-61.
- "The Little Girl and Her Mother: Iliad 16.7-11 and Ancient Greek Warfare," American Journal of Philology 129 (2008), 145-71.
- "Driving Aphrodite from the World: Tatian’s Encratite Principles of Sexual Renunciation," Journal of Theological Studies 53 (2002), 1-25
- "Early Stoic Eros: The Sexual Ethics of Zeno and Chrysippus and their Evaluation of the Popular Greek Erotic Tradition," Apeiron 33 (2000), 207-238
- "Procreationism: The Reproductive Technology of the Pythagoreans," Classical Philology 95 (2000), 113-132
- "Paul’s Uncommon Declaration in Romans 1:18-32 and its Problematic Legacy for Pagan and Christian Relations," Harvard Theological Review 92 (1999), 165-198
- "Philo’s Principles of Sexual Conduct and their Influence on Christian Platonist Sexual Principles," Studia Philonica Annual (1996), 21-39
Select book chapters
- "Girls, Women, and the Significance of Sexual Violence in Ancient Warfare," Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, edited by Elizabeth Heineman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 73-88
- "Early Christian Antipathy toward the Greek ‘Women Gods’," Finding Persephone: Women’s Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean, edited by Angeliki Tzanetou and Maryline Parca (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2007), 277-89
- "The Sexual and Social Dangers of Pornai in the Septuagint Greek Stratum of Patristic Greek Thought," Desire and Denial in Byzantium, ed. Elizabeth James, (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 1999), 35-40
Select Awards and Grants
- CAMWS Outstanding Publication Award, 2006 for The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity (2003)
- NEH Summer Seminar Grant Recipient and Participant in ‘The Law, State, and Individual in Ancient Greece, Rome, and China,’ at the University of California, Berkeley, summer 2003
- Center for Hellenic Studies Summer Fellowship, Washington DC, July 2002
- Robert Penn Warren Fellowship, 1999-2000
- Princeton Hannah Seeger Davis Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 1996-97 NEH Summer Institute Grant Recipient and Participant, in ‘New Perspectives on Classical Antiquity’
- University of Toronto Connaught Fellowships
- University of Illinois Excellence in Teaching Award
Select Invited Lectures
- From Sex Goddess to Naked Prostitute: Aphrodite in Early Christianity, University of Memphis, April 2013.
- Invited Keynote Speaker for Feminism and Classics VI, Brock University (Ontario, Canada), May 2012.
- "Sexual Warfare Against Girls and Women in Classical Antiquity," Invited Lecture at UCLA, sponsored by the Classics Department, March 2011.
- SBL Full Panel Review of my Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity, November 2010.
- "Gods and Plundered Bodies: The Sexual Enslavement of War Captives in Antiquity and its Ambivalent Religious Significance," Invited Lecture at Stanford University, sponsored by the Classics and Religion Departments, March 2010.
- "Mass Rape, its Modes of Warfare, and Ethnic Diversity by the Spear in Ancient Greece," Invited Lecture as part of a diachronic Symposium on Immigrants and Refugees in Greece and Southeast Europe at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, sponsored by the Modern Greek Studies Program and Classics Department, March 2010.
- "The Law of the Conqueror in Antiquity," Invited Lecture at Louisiana State University, sponsored by the Classics Program, March 2010.
- "From Aphrodite to Antichrist: Greek Goddesses and their Demolition in Early Christianity," Invited Lecture for The Sacred Feminine Exhibit at the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, Columbia, October 2009.
- "Warfare and Sexual Enslavement in Antiquity and the Modern Day," Invited Lecture at the Nashville Public Library, as part of the Page and Stage Production of Aquila Theatre, May 2009.
- "Women and Girls as Targets of Ancient Warfare," Invited Lecture for the Nashville Parthenon and the American Institute of Archaeology, Nashville, January 2008.
- "Warfare Beyond the Battle in Greek Historiography," Invited Lecture for a Colloquium Honoring the Retirement of Professor Timothy D. Barnes, University of Toronto, Trinity College, December 2007.
- "Girls, Women, and the Sexual Norms of Warfare from Antiquity to the Modern Day," The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights Conference on The History of Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, Iowa City, Iowa, April 2006.
- "Greek Goddesses and Fornication: The Emergence of Early Christian Sexual Morality," Wilson Lecture, Hamilton College, New York, February 2005
- "Eros and Fornication in Ancient Greek Society," Invited Lecture for the Nashville Parthenon and American Institute of Archaeology Community of Nashville, Nashville Parthenon, September 2003
- Panel discussion review of my article ‘Paul’s Uncommon Declaration in Romans 1:18-32 and its Problematic Legacy for Pagan and Christian Relations,’ Harvard Theological Review 92 (April 1999), 165-198, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature, November 2000