My present position is that of Professor and Chair of Greek History in the Department of Ancient History at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. I am also affiliated with McGill University in Montreal as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Arts.
I did my undergrad degree at the Friedrich Alexander University at Erlangen-Nuremberg (MA 1993, back then the first degree in Germany) and the University of Kent at Canterbury, and grad studies at Erlangen-Nuremberg and Cambridge University, St. Edmund’s College (Dr. phil. 1996). In 1997 I was fortunate enough to land a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Cologne. The Cologne years set the pace in many ways. Much of this had to do with the fact that I was part of an exciting academic team that was lucky enough to work under the mentorship of Karl-J. Hölkeskamp. In 2003 I finished up my Habilitation in Ancient History there, after a one year break at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. In 2004, I started a Heisenberg Fellowship of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft at Frankfurt University. A few months later, in 2005, I was hired to the position of John MacNaughton Chair of Classics and Professor of Ancient History at McGill University in Montreal.
The dynamic rebuilding of Classical Studies at McGill was an extremely rewarding experience. While the Humanities were contracting, we were vigorously branching out. It was thrilling to see how our team was able to shape a boutique academic enterprise in the best sense of the word. From 2007 to 2016 I served as Director of Classical Studies which was long enough, I guess.
In 2018, I was elected into the Royal Society of Canada, an honour that touched me more than I can express here. At around the same time, Westfälische Wilhelms-University offered me its chair in Greek History. The subsequent decision making process was - well, let’s just say it was complicated. The research infrastructure in Münster is superb, and the collegial environment in the department and related units extremely energizing. It is terrific to partake in such a vibrant hub of Ancient World Studies.
Beyond Münster and Germany, my scholarly collaboration with colleagues abroad remains vital to my work. At this point, the main toeholds of ongoing international research collaborations include Classics and Ancient History departments in Athens, Cardiff, Sydney, Buenos Aires, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Waterloo Institute for Hellenistic Studies. I am happy to see that my previous and current grad students play a lively part in those partnerships.
My areas of scholarly interest cluster in the periods of Archaic and Classical Greece and the Roman Republic: designs of polis government and federalism; dynamics between localism and 'globalization' (Greece); and the political culture of the Roman republic. Across antiquity, I work on memorial practices as manifested in festivals and monuments, and on ancient historiography and critical thinking. All this relates in one way or the other to the attempt to grasp, and decipher, the codes of societal cohesion in ancient Greece and Rome.
I have won several fellowships and research grants from funding agencies in Canada, Germany, and the USA to support my work, for which I am genuinely grateful. In 2015, I was awarded the Anneliese Maier Research Prize of the Humboldt Foundation. The award allowed me to establish the Parochial Polis Research Network and follow through with related projects on localism and the local in ancient Greece. While at McGill, I was the Co-Director of the McGill-based Global Antiquities Research Network. Our international team, headed with Professor Griet Vankeerberghen, explores the ancient worlds of Greece, Rome, and China from a comparative perspective. Since 2016, I am co-editing the new Teiresias Supplements Online series with Fabienne Marchand.
If anyone is really interested in what I do in my spare time, I enjoy bbqing for my family and friends, watching a good soccer or hockey game, and pursuing my lifelong interest in heavy metal. And yes, I am a member of the FC Bayern München fan club in my hometown in southern Germany.