"Both Classics and Women's Studies have shaped my research interests. I am currently looking at first century Roman elegiac poetry, asking questions such as: What can we learn from these texts about gender and power relations in ancient Rome? What can a text written by a smitten lover tell us about a culture that earlier generations studied to learn about law and military history? Can a poem that celebrates the simple pleasures of the Italian countryside teach us anything about Rome-the most powerful city the world had known?
One of the pleasures of working at a liberal arts college is the mutual nurturing of teaching and research. Just as a question asked in the classroom often contributes a nuanced perspective to my research, I find that my research continually energizes what happens in the classroom."
Years at Knox: 1977 to present
Ph.D., Classics, 1991, University of Chicago.
M.A., Classics, 1974, University of Texas.
B.A., Classics, cum laude, 1972, University of Texas.
Latin and greek languages and literatures, ancient mediterranean society and culture, women's studies.
Selected Professional Accomplishments
"Repetition and the Poetics of Desire in Tibullus 1.2 and 1.4." CW 92.5, 1999.
"In Search of the Neighbors' Gardens: Tracking Narratives of Displacement and Desire in Horace's Epistles." American Philological Association, 1999.
"Nemesis and Rome: The Feminine Body Politic in Tibullus 2.3." Panel on Gender Trouble in Roman Elegy, American Philological Association, 1998.
"Nec Fore Credebat Romam:The Nation, the Masculine and the Geography of Desire in Tibullus 2.5." CAMWS, 1998.
Campus & Community Involvement
Chair, Women's Studies Program.
Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Rome, Summer 2012.
What Students Say
"Brenda has exerted a strong influence over my life-both academic and personal. She always seems to care not just how I am doing in her class, but in my other studies, and in my life in general. She has pushed me when I was lazy, and assuaged my insecurities and self-doubts. There are many times when I would have given up, taken a bad grade, or dropped a class if she had not been there to offer advice and direction."
-Nathan Bethell, Classics
Leading up to a worldwide event -- Gun Control Theatre Action Week, May 27 through June 2 -- a play by Knox College theatre professor Neil Blackadder was selected for a new collection, "24 Gun Control Plays."
Rana Tahir, a double major in creative writing and political science, wrote dozens of poems and created 29 paintings after interviewing Kuwaiti residents about the 1990 Iraqi occupation.
Knox College awarded more than $1,750 in prizes in the 2013 Al Young Art Show. Organizing 200 art works in an array of media is a challenge, according student Katie O'Connor, who helped arrange the entries.