Skip to main content
Umbrellas on the Gizmo Patio

Mitchell Parks


Mitchell Parks

Associate Professor of Classics

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



Submit Your Deposit
Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Associate Professor of Classics

Mitchell ParksGeneral Interests

"My research rests at the intersection of ancient literature and political theory. To define my work in the narrowest sense, I try to sort out how Athenian authors of the fourth century BCE were influenced by trends in Athenian government and vice versa. But in a broader sense, I am interested in how literary works reflect and attempt to overcome the tensions that inevitably arise when humans get together in large groups.

"That means that, in my courses, you are likely to find yourself pondering ethical questions that pertain just as much to the modern world as to the ancient. To give a few examples: How can we reconcile the democratic ideals of ancient Athens with the fact that their democracy was predicated on the exclusivity of citizen rights, i.e., on extreme misogyny, nationalism, and slave-owning? How can we enjoy ancient myths and historical narratives while recognizing the ways they have been manipulated and abused in support of oppressive ideologies from antiquity to today? And how have works such as the Harry Potter series displaced the likes of the Oresteia and Aeneid as guides for moral and civic education, and is that a good thing?"

Years at Knox: 2017 to present


Ph.D., Classics, 2014, Brown University

B.A., Classics, 2008, Grinnell College

Teaching Interests

Citizenship, law, and civic values in the ancient world; ancient democracy; epic poetry; historical linguistics; Greek and Roman myth and its reception in modern literature.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Scholarly Publications

“Harry, Aeneas, and the Foundational Text,” chapter in The Ivory Tower, Harry Potter, and Beyond: More Essays on the Works of J. K. Rowling, edited by Lana Whited, University of Missouri Press (2023)

Xenophon’s Funeral Oration,” Mnemosyne 76.1: 23–42 (2023)

"Reapportioning Honors: Intertextuality in Against Leptines," Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 60.2: 242–261 (2020)

Review in Classical Journal Online of Claire Taylor, 2017, Poverty, Wealth, and Well-Being: Experiencing Penia in Democratic Athens, Oxford (2019)

"If You'll Be My Bodyguard: Simonides the Mercenary in Xenophon's Hieron," Classical Journal 113.4: 385–410 (2018)


“Ancient Runes Made Easy? Hard-to-Read Writing in Harry Potter and Beedle the Bard,” Harry Potter Academic Conference, online, 2023 (upcoming)

“Isocrates’ Evagoras as Paradoxical Encomium,” CAMWS Annual Meeting, Provo, UT, 2023

“The House of Riddle: Oedipus the King and Intertextual Salience,” Harry Potter Academic Conference, Chestnut Hill, PA, 2022

Tali et Tituli: Roleplaying with Wheelock,” SCS Annual Meeting, online, 2021

“Xenophon’s Funeral Oration,” CAMWS Annual Meeting, online, 2020

"The Lives of Lycurgus: Self-Commemoration in Fourth-Century Athens," SCS Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., 2020

"Reapportioning Honors: Intertextuality in Against Leptines," SCS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2019

"Defining Democracy With (and Without) Statues: The Case of Ancient Athens," Sculpting the Body Politic event, Knox College, 2018

"Agesilaus, Athens, and Communicating Civic Virtue," SCS Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, 2018 

"Isocrates' Letter to Archidamus in Its Literary Context," SCS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2015

"Mercenary Wisdom: The Role of Simonides in Xenophon's Hieron," APA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2014

"Beginning from Zeus: Pindaric Encomium in Statius' Thebaid," CAMWS Annual Meeting, Baton Rouge, LA, 2012

Other Publications

"Epigraphs and Epitaphs: Raising the Dead in The Deathly Hallows," Eidolon, June 21, 2017

Old Main
Apply for Admission Request More Info Visit Knox
Knox College

Printed on Friday, December 8, 2023