People & Research Interests

Afroditi Angelopoulou (USC, Classics, PhD candidate): She studies the tragedies of Aeschylus, whose ideas and world-view have been informed to a considerable extent from other, ‘presocratic’ discourses (i.e., medicine, science, cosmology), and sophistic ideas and practices. She is interested in the ‘mobility of ideas’ that reached Athens from various parts of the Persian Empire, as well as from South Italy and Sicily, and had a considerable impact on traditional Greek beliefs and institutions.(

Matthew Chaldekas (USC, Classics, PhD candidate): He studies Theocritus, whose poems are populated by migrants both real (soldiers and civilians) and fictive (demi-gods and Cyclopes). He is interested in the way these poems dramatize the experience of migrants in early Ptolemaic Egypt, particularly their strategies of incorporation into existing communities. (

Cavan W. Concannon (USC, Religion, PhD, Faculty Member):  His research focuses on trade, networks, and ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean, with particular attention to early Christianity.  Prof. Concannon is the author and editor of several books: ‘When You Were Gentiles’: Specters of Ethnicity in Roman Corinth and Paul’s Corinthian Correspondence (Yale 2014), Assembling Early Christianity: Trade, Networks, and the Letters of Dionysios of Corinth (Cambridge 2017), and (with Lindsey Mazurek) Across the Corrupting Sea: Post-Braudelian Approaches to the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean (Routledge 2016).  He is the co-director of the Ostia Connectivity Project, which is building a database of the connections, relations, and networks that connected Rome’s port complex to the rest of the Mediterranean.  (

Jennifer Devereaux (USC, Classics, PhD candidate):  Her interest focuses on conceptualizations of the self and evidence for the role of mobility in what Husserl identified as the grasping of one’s own psyche at the subjective level through the grasping of the alien one.  She has a particular interest in the role of distributed cognition in communicating identity and how the body was used in analogy to express concepts of community and foreignness.(

Christelle Fischer-Bovet (USC, Classics, PhD, faculty member): Her interest focuses on soldiers and mercenaries as one of the categories of mobile persons and on how, during the Hellenistic period (323-30BCE), they used particular media, such as dedicatory inscriptions, to negotiate their image as one of loyal and trustful members of local communities. (

Jessica Goldberg (UCLA, History, PhD, faculty member): Her research focuses on Mediterranean merchants of the Middle Ages, and tracing the geographies of trade through the travels of individuals and groups. She is interested in how merchants, as powerful migrants, asserted claims to membership in local and trans-local communities, and how those claims were contested. (

Steven Gonzalez (USC, Classics, graduate student): His research focuses on the organization of Roman business and agriculture and its various agents and laborers, specifically the group of people known as actores. He is interested in how the experience of mobility figured their relationship with their principal business agents, as well as the visibility of this relationship in the literary and epigraphic record. He is also interested in the role of mobility in expanding the body of agricultural knowledge and how the agronomists engaged with this material. (

Ariela Gross (USC, Law and History, PhD, faculty member): Her interest focuses on the claims to citizenship in the US of people categorized as free people of color or immigrants before 1952 whose naturalization was challenged on the grounds that they were not “free white persons.” Her paper examines the de-naturalization trials of immigrants to California from South Asia after the US Supreme Court decided in US v. Thind (1923) that Indians were not white.  (

Lucas Herchenroeder (USC, Classics, PhD, faculty member): His interests concern the preservation of memories of migration and the relocation of peoples in the historiographical tradition, and especially the transformation of this major idiom of historical thought in Hellenistic contexts. He also is interested in how the lived experiences of mobility and dislocation affected the development of cultures of learning in the Hellenistic world, especially in the sciences and technical fields.

Scott Lepisto (USC, Classics, PhD): His research focuses on the philosophical works of Seneca the Younger, especially the depiction of migration and mobility in his exilic works.

Paul Lerner (USC, History, PhD, faculty member): A historian of modern Germany, Lerner is now working on several projects concerning the migration of German-speaking Jews in the 1930s and 40s.  His work addresses the way these thinkers perceived and theorized the experience of mobility and displacement and how they reconceptualized Judaism/Jewishness, the psyche, and the meaning of home.

Eric Rebillard (Cornell University, Classics and History, PhD, faculty member): Experiencing Mobility according to the Apocryphal Acts of the ApostlesThe importance of travel has long been recognized in the set of texts traditionally labeled Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. How these texts represent the experience(s) of mobility, however, deserves more scrutiny. Beyond the study of how travel and mobility structure the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, as they do to a large extant structure the ancient novel, many anecdotes and features in these texts offer material for an analysis of the representations attached to the migrants, their perception in local societies, and the role of diaspora networks. A close reading of these texts can thus contribute to an anthropology of mobility in the Greco-Roman world of the second and third centuries CE.