Department of Classics

Pramit Chaudhuri


Ph.D., Classics and Comparative Literature, Yale University

Associate Professor

Contact

Biography


Pramit Chaudhuri is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.A. (Hons.) in classical literature and philosophy (Literae Humaniores) from Balliol College, Oxford University; an M.A. in the history of art from the Courtauld Institute; and a Ph.D. in classics and comparative literature from Yale University. He specialises in the Latin poetry of the early Roman empire set within a broader study of classical and early modern epic and tragedy. His recent book, The War with God (Oxford 2014), explores literary depictions of ‘theomachy’ (conflicts between humans and gods) and their mediation of issues such as religious conflict, philosophical iconoclasm, political struggle, and poetic rivalry. Articles on subjects ranging from Vergilian wordplay to Shakespeare’s collaborative work have appeared in journals such as Classical Quarterly and ELH: English Literary History. His current book project is a study of the representation of debate and diplomacy in Roman epic and historiography.

Chaudhuri is also co-director of the Quantitative Criticism Lab, a collaborative project to apply computational and biological approaches to the study of literature. Research by QCL has appeared in various journals across Classics, the Digital Humanities, and sciences. His work has been supported by a New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a Digital Humanities Start-up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Digital Innovation Fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies, besides various other grants. He is also the co-founder and co-president of the Society for Early Modern Classical Reception (SEMCR), an affiliate group of the Society for Classical Studies and Renaissance Society of America.

Courses


LAT 390 • Debate/Diplomacy Classical Lit

33265 • Fall 2019
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

Debate and Diplomacy in Classical Literature

Classical epic and historiography are centrally concerned with war, against which context they feature scenes of councils and embassies in which characters argue for peace. These moments of tension and possibility have much to teach us not only about Greco-Roman attitudes to war and peace, rhetoric and negotiation, but also about the interpretation of literary texts - since interpretation can itself be viewed as a form of debate and diplomatic exchange with one’s predecessors, peers, and successors. Texts include selections from Homer through to Silius Italicus, especially Augustan and Flavian works, with a particular view to tracing out the nuances of their treatment of embassies and councils. In terms of theory and criticism, we will focus on the work of the early modernist Timothy Hampton as well as some recent scholarship on Roman diplomacy from a historical perspective. Graded assignments will include translation and components of the research project culminating in a final paper.

LAT 383 • Survey Of Latin Literature

32870 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 1:00PM-2:30PM CBA 4.336

This course studies a wide range of Latin literary production from the 1st century AD with some selective forays into later periods. The treatment of material and assignments are partly designed to prepare students for graduate examinations, including a focus on literary history and translation of Latin. As well as getting to know major individual works and their place in the tradition, we will practise two skills crucial for anyone seeking to work in the field: 1) defining a literary problem and a plausible critical approach to that problem; 2) connecting a text or a feature of a text with illuminating comparanda. To that end the course will also introduce some major trends in the recent study of Latin literature, which will allow us to better contextualise our own approaches. By the end of the semester, students should be able to present their knowledge according to a variety of configurations suitable for answering a diverse array of questions about Latin literature. Since the course cannot be comprehensive in its coverage, it is expected that the methods and techniques learned will be applied to material beyond the syllabus.

LAT 383 • Survey Of Latin Literature

33425 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 10

This course studies a wide range of Latin literary production from the 1st century AD with some selective forays into later periods. The treatment of material and assignments are partly designed to prepare students for graduate examinations, including a focus on literary history and translation of Latin. As well as getting to know major individual works and their place in the tradition, we will practise two skills crucial for anyone seeking to work in the field: 1) defining a literary problem and a plausible critical approach to that problem; 2) connecting a text or a feature of a text with illuminating comparanda. To that end the course will also introduce some major trends in the recent study of Latin literature, which will allow us to better contextualise our own approaches. By the end of the semester, students should be able to present their knowledge according to a variety of configurations suitable for answering a diverse array of questions about Latin literature. Since the course cannot be comprehensive in its coverage, it is expected that the methods and techniques learned will be applied to material beyond the syllabus.

LAT 390 • Silver Latin Epic

33450 • Spring 2017
Meets M 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

In the past thirty years, few areas of Latin literature have enjoyed as much scholarly attention as Silver Latin epic. Three principal features account for this popularity: 1) themes of violence, excess, and subversion have appealed to contemporary tastes; 2) produced within a relatively brief period from Nero to Domitian, the corpus is remarkably coherent and invites detailed local comparisons; 3) unlike for Augustan literature, many of the primary models of Silver epic are extant: the Aeneid, Metamorphoses, and Senecan tragedy, besides Greek works. The corpus thus offers critics a rare opportunity to study the workings of Roman poets within near contemporaneous as well as longer timeframes, including reception studies focused especially on the high middle ages and early modernity. In this seminar we will survey portions of each of the surviving epics: Lucan’s Bellum Ciuile, Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica, Silius Italicus’ Punica, and Statius’ Thebaid and Achilleid. As well as seeking to understand the key themes of these works and their place in literary history, we will also use the corpus as a means of practising methods of criticism, ranging from traditional philology to the digital humanities, and paying attention to literary theory.

LAT 323 • Year Of The Four Emperors

33320 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 112

The Fall of the emperor Nero in AD 68 brought to an end the reign of Rome’s first imperial dynasty, the Julio-Claudians, and sparked a year of civil war. Four generals in succession struggled to gain control of the Roman empire, from which turmoil would eventually emerge the Flavian dynasty, whose military and cultural accomplishments shaped the fabric of the city of Rome and the course of history. In this course we read selections from the major accounts of the civil war in Latin by the historian Tacitus and imperial biographer Suetonius. The course has two principal aims: 1) to develop the ability to read Latin prose through enhanced knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and style; 2) to understand how literary language represents conflict and shapes the reader’s response to narrative and character.