My present position at McGill University is Professor of Ancient History and John MacNaughton Chair of Classics in the Department of History and Classical Studies.
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 were a treasure; they 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 was Heisenberg Fellow at Frankfurt University. From there I got hired to the McGill job in 2005.
The dynamic rebuilding of Classical Studies at McGill was an extremely rewarding experience. While the Humanities were (are) contracting, we were vigorously branching out. I am thrilled to see how our team was able to shape a boutique academic enterprise in the best sense of the word. Here is the link to the website. From 2007 to 2016 I served as Director of Classical Studies which was long enough, I guess.
Beyond McGill and Canada, my scholarly collaboration with colleagues in Europe remains vital to my work. At this point, the main toeholds of ongoing international research collaborations include the Classics and Ancient History departments in Dresden, Münster, Cologne, and Athens. I am happy to see that our students at McGill 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 multiple fellowships and research grants from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and international funding agencies in Germany and the USA to support my work, for which I am genuinely grateful. Most recently, I was awarded the Anneliese Maier Research Prize of the Humboldt Foundation. Valued EUR 250,000, the award will allow me and my team to put the work on the Greek localism project on an all new footing. In cooperation with my colleague Professor Griet Vankeerberghen, I am also the Co-Director of the McGill-based Global Antiquities research network. Our team, with participants from across the globe, explores the ancient worlds of Greece, Rome, and China from a comparative perspective. Global Antiquities is among the founding workgroups of the Yan P. Lin Center at McGill University. Since 2016, I am co-editing the new Teiresias Supplements Online series with Fabienne Marchand.
If anyone is 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.