- Nathan A. Greenberg Professor of Classics
- Acting Chair of Comparative Literature
- BA, Carleton College, 1985
- MA, Stanford University, 1989
- PhD, Stanford University, 1992
Kirk Ormand has been at Oberlin since 2001. His research specialties include sexuality in the ancient world, archaic Greek poetry (especially Hesiod and Sappho), Sophocles, Euripides, Lucan, and the Greek novel. He regularly teaches Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, Classical Mythology, Greek History and intermediate and advanced courses in ancient Greek and Latin.
From 2007–08, he spent time in Athens, Greece, as the Elizabeth A. Whitehead Professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, where he pursued interests in material culture and Greek pre-history. In the summer of 2010, he led the ASCSA‘s summer session I, a 6-week archaeological tour of Crete and mainland Greece.
During winter term, he sometimes leads intrepid students on a 16-day tour of archaeological sites in ancient Greece. You can visit a tumblr (blog) of the most recent trip, co-led with Naomi Campa. The group had a terrific trip, and enjoyed being in Greece during the low tourist season. Ormand hopes to make this trip a more regular event in the future.
Ormand’s publications include Controlling Desires: Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome (revised edition, University of Texas Press, 2018), and the Companion to Sophocles (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), which came out in paperback in 2015. His most recent books are The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women and Archaic Greece (Cambridge University Press, 2014; paperback, 2018) and Ancient Sex: New Essays (Ohio State University Press, 2015).
Kirk Ormand Publishes ArticleJanuary 13, 2020
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand published an article in a volume titled A Cultural History of Tragedy in Antiquity (Bloomsbury academic, 2020) edited by Emily Wilson. Ormand's article "Gender and Sexuality" appears in pp. 131-18. In it, Ormand summarizes the depiction of masculinity and femininity in Greek and Roman tragedy, and argues that the gender-based anxieties expressed on those dramas reflect shifts and points of tension in the social and political structures of fifth-century BCE Athens and first century CE Rome.
Kirk Ormand Organizes and Co-Chairs PanelJanuary 9, 2020
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand organized and co-chaired a panel at the meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (Jan. 2-5, Washington DC), in collaboration with Kristina Milnor of Barnard College / Columbia University. Ormand's panel, titled "Lesbianism before Sexuality" consisted of five scholars from the US and UK, each of whom presented a paper investigating different aspects of female homoerotic desire in ancient Greece and Rome. Sandra Boehringer of the Université de Strasbourg offered a response.
Kirk Ormand Appointed as Visiting ProfessorSeptember 2, 2019
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand has been appointed the Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor for the spring semester of 2021 at Carleton College. The Benedict Professorship brings scholars of national renown to Carleton for a limited appointment to teach courses in their areas of specialty. Ormand, who received his BA from Carleton, will offer his class on ancient Greek and Roman sexuality. Ormand will be on sabbatical leave for '20-21, and will return to Oberlin in the fall of 2021.
Kirk Ormand Gives Two Public TalksJune 10, 2019
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand ended the academic year by giving two public talks. He presented "Women in and out of Time: Atalanta and Sappho," on May 17 at the University of Washington in Seattle. He presented a paper on the reception by American classicists of Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality on May 25 at a conference in Paris. The conference, Bien Avant la Sexualité, was held in celebration of the first complete translation into French of Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World. David Halperin '74, one of the editors of the original volume, also spoke at the conference, on the topic "Mais que s’est-il passé en 1990?"
Kirk Ormand Gives Invited TalksMarch 11, 2019
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand gave two invited talks. He presented "Sexualized Violence: The Eurymedon Vase in Context" on February 28 at the University of Southern Alabama. Ormand delivered "Women in and out of Time: Atalanta and Sappho" on March 12 at Rutgers University.
In addition, Ormand’s 2014 book about fragmentary archaic Greek poetry The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women and Archaic Greece has just been re-issued in paperback by Cambridge University Press.
Kirk Ormand Delivers TalksJanuary 28, 2019
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand recently delivered two talks. On January 5, he presented "Did Imaginary Cinaedi Have Sex with Women?" at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in San Diego, as part of a panel titled "Searching for the Cinaedus in Classical Antiquity." On January 25, Ormand delivered the John P. Sullivan Lecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ormand's paper was titled "Mollis or Intersexed? Ovid's Hermaphroditus and the Figural Tradition." The Sullivan Lecture honors J.P. Sullivan, who taught in the Classics Department at UCSB until his untimely death in 1993.
Kirk Ormand Publishes Review of Volume of Collected EssaysNovember 7, 2018
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand recently published a review of a volume of collected essays, titled Sex, Knowledge and Receptions of the Past, edited by Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands (Oxford University Press, 2015). The volume deals with the reception of past traditions in the formation of modern theories of sexuality, sexual identity, and gender presentation. Ormand’s review appears in the Journal of the History of Sexuality 27 (2018): 482-484.
Kirk Ormand Delivers Two LecturesOctober 31, 2018
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand has recently delivered two public lectures. In September, he gave a paper titled “Women in and out of Time: Sappho and Atalanta” at Brown University. In October, Ormand participated in the 5th International Conference on Mythcriticism at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, Spain (Oct. 17-19), where he delivered “Verhoeven’s Robocop as Modern Oedipus.”
Kirk Ormand Publishes Second Edition of BookJanuary 18, 2018
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand recently published a second edition of his book on ancient Greek and Roman sexual life, Controlling Desires: Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome. In addition to revising the previously published chapters, Ormand has added two new chapters to the book, one on the evidence of Greek vase painting, and another on Roman sculpture and wall painting. The second edition is available in paperback from the University of Texas Press.
Kirk Ormand PublishesOctober 27, 2017
Kirk Ormand, professor of classics, published an article on the fragmentary 6th-century (BCE) poetry of Stesichorus and Hesiod. “Helen’s Phantom in Fragments” examines the earliest known references to an alternative Greek mythological tradition that suggested that Helen never went to Troy and that the Trojan War was fought over an eidolon, an “image” of Helen, while the real Helen spent the entire war in Egypt. Ormand’s piece was published in Poetry in Fragments: Studies on the Hesiodic Corpus and its Afterlife, ed. Christos Tsangalis (Walter de Gruyter 2017), pp. 115-135.
Kirk Ormand Performs in Messenian TheaterAugust 30, 2017
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand had a small role in a multi-lingual dramatic production at the site of ancient Messene (Greece). The play, Μεσσηνιακά· Εἰρωονεῖες τοῦ Πολέμου (The Messenian Affair: Ironies of War) was written by Giannis Lignadis, based on book four of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponesian War, and was directed by Giannis Panagopoulos. The play was the second in the series Thucydides Dramaticus: The Theater of War, and was produced by the Hellenic Education Resource Center (HERC) in conjunction with ΔΙΑΖΩΜΑ, the Deme of Messene, the Ephoreia of Messenian Antiquities, and with support from the Greek Archaeological Service. Performances took place on August 12 and 13 in the ancient Messenian theater, which was built in the early 4th century BCE and excavated in the late 20th century by Professor Petros Themelis of the Greek Archaeological Service, to whom the play was dedicated.
A much larger and more important role was played in the drama by fourth-year Tara Wells, who had lines in ancient Greek and was a member of the women’s chorus.
Kirk Ormand LecturesMay 11, 2017
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand gave three public lectures during spring semester. In February, Ormand was the keynote speaker at the University of Tennessee’s annual undergraduate conference in classics, delivering a talk titled “Sexualized Violence: the Eurymedon Vase in Context.” This talk presented the controversial “Eurymedon Vase,” an early 5th century Athenian wine vase (currently in Hamburg) in the context of sexual practices and their ideological depictions of Persians and Scythians. In March, Ormand delivered “Helen in Fragments” to the graduate program in Classics at the University of Cincinnati. The paper explores the alternative traditions surrounding Helen of Troy and a possible intertextual allusion to the fragments of Stesichorus in a fragment from Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women. In April, Ormand initiated a new series of workshops for graduate students in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, on job training, the job market, and professional development.
Kirk Ormand elected board member for Society for Classical StudiesNovember 22, 2016
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Society for Classical Studies. The SCS (formerly the American Philological Association) is the primary professional organization in North America for scholars of ancient Greek and Roman literature, language, history, and culture, and it cooperates with the Archaeological Institute of America in the study of ancient Mediterranean archaeology. Prof. Ormand’s term begins in January 2017 and will last for three years.
Kirk Ormand publishes articleNovember 1, 2016
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand published the article, “Divine Perspective and the Plots of Zeus in the Hesoidic Catalogue,” in The Gods of Greek Hexameter Poetry: From the Archaic Age to Late Antiquity and Beyond, eds. J. Clauss, A. Kahane and M. Cuypers (Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, 2016). Ormand’s article examines the literary trope — common in archaic Greek poetry — that Zeus began the Trojan War in order to reduce the Earth of its too-rapidly expanding population. In the fragments of Hesiod’s mythological poem, The Catalogue of Women (on which Ormand published a monograph in 2014), Ormand argues that we see a careful exposition of human heroes' failure to understand these events from the perspective of the Olympian gods.
Kirk Ormand Delivers LecturesMay 27, 2016
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand delivered three public talks this past semester. In March, he gave the keynote address at Miami University of Ohio's undergraduate conference in classics, titled "Sexualized Violence: the Eurymedon Vase in Context." At the end of April, he attended the conference Engendering Time in the Ancient Greco-Roman Mediterranean at Bates College, where he delivered "Atalanta and Sappho: Women In and Out of Time." And in May, he delivered a paper titled "This Sex Which Is Not Two: Looking Hard at Ovid's Hermaphroditus," at the quadrennial conference on Feminism and Classics, held this year at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Kirk Ormand PublishesMarch 9, 2016
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand recently published the article “Peut-on parler de perversion dans l’Antiquité? Foucault et l’invention du raisonnement psychiatrique” in Foucault: la sexualité, l’Antiquité, a volume of collected essays edited by Sandra Boehringer and Daniele Lorenzini (Paris: Éditions Kimé 2015, pages 63-83).
Ormand’s article developed out of a paper he delivered at a conference last spring in Paris that deals with the effects of Foucault’s three-volume History of Sexuality 30 years after its publication. Building on the work of Arnold Davidson, Ormand argues that previous to the development of “psychiatric reasoning” in the late 19th century, it is anachronistic to speak of sexual “perversions” in the modern sense, even in the case of individuals who might strike modern readers as exhibiting what we might think of as “perverse” behaviors and inclinations. Ormand’s article was translated into French for the volume by Sandra Boehringer and Isabelle Châtelet.
Kirk Ormand Publishes Two ArticlesJanuary 13, 2016
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand recently published two articles. The first, “Toward Iambic Obscenity,” appears in Ancient Obscenities: Their Nature and Use in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds, edited by Dorata Dutsch and Ann Suter (University of Michigan Press, 2015). Ormand’s contribution explores the narrative and literary uses of invective obscenities in the fragmentary poems of the archaic Greek poet Hipponax, with particular attention to the story of how “iambic” poetry got its name and became associated with obscene invective.
The second article, “Buying Babies in Euripides’ Hippolytus,” argues that Hippolytus’ famous misogynistic speech in Euripides’ is framed in terms of an ongoing discursive conflict between short-term, lower-class, economic exchange and long-term, upper-class, aristocratic gift-giving. As such, Hippolytus’ misogyny also marks him as an aloof aristocrat living in the household of Theseus, legendary founder of Athenian democracy, a conflict that is played out through the rest of the drama. This article appears in a special edition of Illinois Classical Studies (volume 40.2, fall 2015).
Kirk Ormand Publishes Fifth BookAugust 25, 2015
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand published his fifth book, Ancient Sex: New Essays this summer. The book, co-edited with University of Washington Professor of Classics Ruby Blondell, is a collection of essays dealing with sexual behaviors and their meanings in ancient Greece and Rome. It is published by the Ohio State University Press.
The volume contains seven essays by an international group of scholars, an introduction by Ormand and Blondell, and an epilogue by David Halperin ’73. The essays cover a range of topics, including Athenian vase-painting, sexual graffiti at Pompeii, and the satiric dialogues of Lucian, an Assyrian living under the Roman empire who wrote in Greek. All of the essays are informed by and respond to Michel Foucault’s fundamental work on the discursive production of sexuality in the modern West.
Kirk Ormand Public TalksApril 15, 2015
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand has given a number of public talks this semester. In February, Ormand traveled to the University of North Carolina, Asheville, (UNCA) to give a talk titled “Sexualized Violence: The Eurymedon Vase in Context” as a part of the UNCA Humanities Colloquium series.
In March, Ormand delivered the keynote address at the Indiana Classical Conference, hosted by Earlham College. The subject of his talk was "Perversion in Antiquity: Seneca, Foucault, and the Invention of Psychiatric Reasoning.”
In April, Ormand delivered a revised version of the same paper at the conference Foucault: La Sexualité, L’Antiquité: 30 ans après held at the University of Paris-Diderot and sponsored by the Laboratoires ANHIMA (Paris) and Archimède (Strasbourg) and the Centre Michel Foucault (Paris).
Kirk Ormand Delivers Two Talks in FranceNovember 3, 2014
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand recently delivered two talks in France. On October 15, he spoke at the University of Strasbourg, on the topic, “Peut-on parler de perversion dans l'Antiquité? Foucault et l'invention du raisonnement psychiatrique.” This event was co-sponsored by the University of Strasbourg and the Laboratoire Archimede.
On October 18, Professor Ormand presented “Mestra in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women” at a conference sponsored by the Projet Eurykleia in Paris, as part of the conference, “Genre et Renommee en Grece Ancienne: Autour du Catalogue des Femmes.” The Projet Eurykleia is a collaboration between the Laboratoire ANHIMA in Paris and the Laboratoire Archimede in Strasbourg.
Kirk Ormand Publishes Book Dealing with Archaic Greek PoemMay 9, 2014
Kirk Ormand, Professor of Classics, has just published a book with Cambridge University Press, titled The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women and Archaic Greece. The book deals with an archaic Greek poem (mid 6th c. BCE), known in antiquity as the Catalogue of Women, which now exists only in fragments: we have roughly 1400 lines and partial lines of a work that was probably 4000 lines long in its original form. Ormand's book, the first monograph on the Catalogue in nearly 30 years, reads the poem as an aristocratic response to the emerging structures of the polis (city-state) towards the end of the Archaic period.
Kirk Ormand Publishes Article in New BookFebruary 12, 2014
Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand’s article, “Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Discipline of Classics,” appears in A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities, published this year by Wiley-Blackwell. “The book makes an excellent Valentine's Day gift and is available at finer booksellers everywhere,” he says.