Click here to watch the video recording of my talk at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) about pioneering Classical scholar John Wesley Gilbert (1863-1923). You can read my articles about Prof. Gilbert here and here, and read a Greek news interview here.  Prof. Gilbert graduated from Paine Institute (today Paine College) in Augusta, Georgia, then received his BA from Brown University in 1888.  As a Brown MA student in 1890-1891 he became the first African American to study in Greece at the ASCSA. During his year in Greece, Gilbert participated in the American School’s excavations at the ancient site of Eretria on the island of Euboea.

To learn more about African American intellectual life in Augusta, visit the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.

My exhibition on Helmets of the First World War is no longer on display at the UCSB Library, but you can still visit the online exhibition web page.

Click here to watch my UCSB Faculty Focus interview about being a historian.

Personal Statement:

I study the history of ancient West Asia, including Greece and Achaemenid Persia. My research focuses on war, society, and culture in the Greek and Achaemenid world from ca. 650-330 BC.  I am also interested in receptions, interpretations, and representations of antiquity in the United States, especially amongst African American classical scholars during the late 19th century.

My recent publications include essays on Xenophon of Athens, on Achaemenid frontier defenses in Anatolia, and on Cyrus the Younger and Artaxerxes II, along with an edited volume on comparative borderlands studies.  I am currently completing a book about John Wesley Gilbert (1863-1923), the first African American scholar to attend the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

I teach graduate and undergraduate ancient history courses, survey courses in ancient world history, and classes in the history of warfare from antiquity to the present. I have run archaeological field schools and travel-study programs in Greece and Turkey, including a Summer Session for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

I am a member of UCSB’s interdisciplinary Ancient Mediterranean Studies PhD Emphasis, the Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group, and the UCSB Iranian Studies Initiative.

I serve as faculty advisor for the UCSB Student Veterans Organization (SVO). If you are a student veteran on campus or a veteran interested in attending UCSB, please feel free to contact me for information about the SVO and support for student veterans at UCSB, or visit the web site for UCSB Veterans and Military Services.

Graduate Study in Ancient History at UCSB

UCSB has a vibrant, inclusive, multidisciplinary ancient studies community that brings together faculty and students from History, Classics, History of Art & Architecture, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and other departments. Our Ancient History PhD program emphasizes both research and teaching. We provide supportive, rigorous graduate mentoring and treat our graduate students as colleagues in training. Through our seminars and lecture series, our graduate students have the opportunity to meet distinguished visiting scholars from around the world. Our PhDs have found success in tenure-track positions at research universities and liberal arts colleges, and in non-academic careers.

In addition to campus-wide and departmental funding, graduate support for ancient history students is available through the Drake and Sizgorich Funds, UCSB History Associates, and other sources.

For more information about the UCSB graduate program in Ancient History, please read our departmental field description.    The application deadline for 2019-2020 has passed.  If you are interested in applying for 2020-2021, please contact me before submitting your application.
This page was last updated on: 16.vii.2020

Advisor to:

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • Ancient Greece & Achaemenid Persia
  • History of Warfare
  • Archaeology and Epigraphy
  • African American Scholars and Classical Studies in the 19th Century

Current Projects:

  • John Wesley Gilbert, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and the Development of Archaeology in Greece
  • “That First Trip to Central Greece:” John Pickard’s 1890 account of the first ASCSA trip through Phocis and Boeotia; with material from Andrew Fossum’s 1937 account of the same trip.
  • Depictions of Achaemenid History in 19th-20th Century U.S. School Textbooks
  • Civil War and Revolt in Achaemenid Persia
  • ARCHE Project: Advanced Research in the Comparative History of Empires. Digital Athenian Empire and online atlas of Achaemenid Persia (under construction).

Selected Publications:


Courses Taught:

  • History 2A: World Civilizations to AD 750
    An introduction to the early civilizations of Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Mediterranean, and Oceania.  Next offered: Winter 2021.
  • History 111A: Early Greece, 3000-750 BC
    Topics include Neolithic culture in the Aegean, Bronze Age Minoan & Mycenaean civilization, the Late Bronze Age international system, the historicity of the Trojan War, and early Iron Age Greece.
  • History 111B: The Archaic and Classical Greek World, 750-323 BC
    Topics include the polis (“city-state”), Greek-Persian interactions, the society and culture of classical Greece, the Peloponnesian War, and the rise of Macedon. Next offered: Winter 2020.
  • History 111C: The Hellenistic World, 323-30 BC
    Topics include the campaigns of Alexander, the formation of the Hellenistic kingdoms, Greek federal states, Hellenistic science and technology, and ethnicity and culture in the Hellenistic world.
  • History 111F: Achaemenid Persia, 559-330 BC
    Ancient Persia from Cyrus to Alexander. Topics include the development of Achaemenid imperialism, economic and social history of the empire, art and architecture, and cultural interactions amongst Persians, Greeks, and others. Next offered: Spring 2021.
  • History 111R: Research Seminar in Ancient History
    Research seminar for history majors. Participants write a 15-20 page paper.
  • History 111T: Topics in Ancient History
    Upper-division lecture course; topics vary by quarter. Next offered: The Neo-Assyrian Empire, Fall 2021 (tentative).
  • History 201E: Reading Seminar in Ancient History
    Recent topics: Historiography of Classical Greece & Achaemenid Persia; Greek and Near Eastern Economies and Societies.  Fall 2019 topic: Comparative History of Ancient Greece and China.
  • History 211A & 211B: Research Seminar in Ancient History
    Most recent topic: Civil War, Revolt, and Rebellion in the Greek & Achaemenid World.

Honors and Professional Activities:

Honors and Awards
Professional Activities
  • Summer Session Director, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2009
  • Director, UCSB Summer Travel-Study Program on Crete, 2007
  • President, Santa Barbara Society, Archaeological Institute of America

Archaeological Fieldwork

  • Mitrou Archaeological Project.  Field School Co-Director, 2005.
  • Cornell Halai and East Lokris Project.  Excavation Staff, 1999-2004.

Media Appearances and Public History

Web Links and Resources