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Julia Nelson Hawkins

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Assistant Professor of Greek and Latin
Ohio State University

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Biography: 

Since receiving her Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford (2006), Julia has been an assistant professor at Ohio State University. Her areas of interest include Latin poetry, ancient medicine and Hellenistic culture in Rome. She is currently preparing a monograph on medical imagery in Augustan poetry, titled The Poetics of Medicine in Augustan Rome: Therapoetics after Actium. She examines why there are so many prominent scenes of plague and, more generally, disease and healing in the long, narrative poems of the Augustan period after Actium and, in particular, why the final books of the Georgics, Aeneid, and Metamorphoses all deal with significant medical themes. She sees the proliferation of medical imagery in such poetry of this period as more than just a nod to Lucretius and Thucydides, who both helped to establish the plague narrative as a literary topos. She takes a more socio-political approach and argues that these images are connected to broader shifts in medicine and its increasing association with politics in the late Republic and, in particular, to Augustus' creation of a "healing persona" after the Civil Wars.

Julia's recent publications include: "Plague in Literature" (2009, for the Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome), "Caesar and Caesarean Section: the Poetics of Medicine and Childbirth in Ovid's Metamorphoses" (2008, in "Papers on Ancient Literatures: Greece, Rome, and the Near East"), and "The Ritual of Therapy: Venus the Healer in Virgil's Aeneid" (2004, in "Rituals in Ink: Proceedings from a Colloquium on Roman Religion").