Tori Lee: A Rising Star in Classical Studies and Public Writing
Tori Lee is a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University who specializes in Latin literature and its reception in contemporary society. She is also an assistant editor of the Society for Classical Studies blog and a former assistant editor of Eidolon Journal, two online platforms that promote public writing about Classics. In this article, we will introduce some of her academic and public projects, as well as her involvement in various initiatives that support diversity and inclusion in the field of Classics.
One of Lee’s main research interests is the genre of ancient pastoral poetry, which depicts the lives and loves of shepherds and nymphs in an idealized rural setting. She is currently working on a book project that examines how pastoral poetry represents sexual and intimate partner violence, and how these representations are received and reinterpreted by modern readers and writers. She argues that pastoral poetry offers a complex and nuanced perspective on violence that challenges the binary oppositions between consent and coercion, pleasure and pain, and victim and perpetrator. She also explores how contemporary authors, such as Margaret Atwood and Louise GlÃ¼ck, engage with the pastoral tradition to critique the gendered dynamics of violence and power in their own contexts.
Another area of Lee’s research is the concept of obscenity in ancient literature and culture. She is interested in how obscenity is defined, regulated, and contested by different groups and individuals in antiquity, and how it relates to issues of gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, and religion. She has published articles on topics such as the censorship of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria under Augustus, the use of obscene language by Roman women poets, and the reception of Catullus’ erotic poems by modern translators. She also teaches courses on ancient medicine, social history, drama, and elegy that incorporate discussions of obscenity and its implications.
As a public writer, Lee aims to make classical studies accessible, relevant, and engaging for a wider audience. She has written for Eidolon Journal, an online publication that features essays on various aspects of Classics and its reception in modern culture. Some of her articles include “The Ancient Roots of Imposter Syndrome”, which traces the origins of the phenomenon to ancient rhetorical education; “The Women Who Translated the Classics”, which celebrates the contributions of female translators from the 17th century to the present; and “How to Be a Good Classicist Under a Bad Emperor”, which offers advice on how to resist authoritarianism and injustice by drawing on examples from ancient history and literature.
Lee is also an assistant editor of the Society for Classical Studies blog, which publishes posts on various topics related to teaching, research, outreach, and professional development in Classics. She helps to solicit, edit, and promote content from diverse authors who represent different perspectives and experiences in the field. She also writes her own posts on topics such as teaching Latin online during the pandemic, creating inclusive syllabi for classical studies courses, and fostering a sense of community among graduate students.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Lee is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in classical studies. She is a programming coordinator for the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus (AAACC), a group that advocates for the representation and interests of Asian and Asian American scholars and students in Classics. She helps to organize events such as panels, workshops, mentorship programs, and social gatherings that foster dialogue and collaboration among AAACC members and allies. She is also a volunteer with CripAntiquity, a network that supports disabled scholars and students in Classics. She assists with tasks such as captioning videos, creating transcripts, and providing accessibility information for events.
Another initiative that Lee is involved in is the Sportula, a mutual aid organization that provides microgrants to students of color and low-income students who study Classics or related fields. The Sportula aims to reduce financial barriers to accessing classical education and to create a more equitable and supportive environment for marginalized students. Lee is a member of the leadership collective of the Sportula, which oversees the fundraising, distribution, and promotion of the microgrants. She also helps with other projects such as organizing online conferences, hosting