A&S Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities

August 30, 2023 by Sonja Johnston

Cristiana Roffi holds a joint doctoral degree (cum laude) in Latin Literature from the University of Trento and the University of Augsburg. During her Ph.D. she investigated the 1545 retelling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses by German author Jörg Wickram, thus contributing to the literature on the Ovidian reception during the Reformation in Germany and, more broadly, across Europe. She graduated in Classics from the University of Bologna (BA/MA) and was visiting researcher at the University of Freiburg, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Ohio State University (Virginia Brown fellowship). Her main research interests focus on the reception of classics, imperial Latin poetry (in particular Ovid) and ecocriticism. From September, Cristiana will hold an office at the JHI and participate in the activities of the Circle of Fellows of 2023-2024 on the annual theme of Absence.

Fellowship Project

Mother Earth. Towards an ecofeminist approach to Ovid's Metamorphoses

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, an 8 AD Latin epic poem and one of the most influential works in Western culture, is garnering more attention from ecocritics and environmental theorists alike. Nonetheless, no scholarly work currently analyzes within the classics the connection between a procreative Earth with a nurturing, human mother or equates the abuse of the environment with the subordination of women. Ecofeminism has played a significant role in activism outside academia but the term, applied to classics, appears only rarely. Through the analysis of four case studies and an interdisciplinary approach that combines the philological analysis of Latin sources, modern ecocriticism, and feminist readings, this project fills this gap by showing how and why earth and women are closely connected within the Metamorphoses, reconsidering the interaction between women and the natural world, and demonstrating how the feminine human body can become a component of the landscape. The project will provide insights into contemporary environmental problems (including the over-intensive exploitation of land and resources) to build a more sustainable relationship with the environment.