Craig Williams is Professor of Classics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After earning his PhD from Yale University in 1992, he was on the faculty of Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center (City University of New York) for twenty years, and was awarded a Leonard and Clair Tow Endowed Professorship in 2006. Williams has also taught at Columbia University and the Freie Universität Berlin. He is the author of »Roman Homosexuality« (Oxford University Press 1999, second edition 2010), »Reading Roman Friendship« (Cambridge University Press 2012), two commentaries on Martial's epigrams (Book 2, Oxford University Press 2004, and a student reader, Bolchazy-Carducci Press 2011), and numerous articles on subjects ranging from Latin epigram to the semantics of gender in classical Latin to historical fiction set in ancient Rome. For his current project on Native American writing on ancient Greece and Rome he has been awarded fellowships by the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Greco-Roman Antiquity in Native American Autobiography
I am working on a book (working title: »Calling the Muses to Oklahoma«) which will tell the hitherto untold story of how Native American writers have used European classical antiquity as an element in their portraiture of themselves and their people. I consider some of the ways in which these uses of Greece and Rome can be interpreted: as transformations of European classical antiquity (whether as instances of appropriation, hybridization, or allelopoiesis); as tools or weapons used by Indian writers addressing non-Indian readers; as a way of »talking back« to Europeans and Euro-Americans through the intermediary of their prestigious »classics«; and more. Bringing together for the first time a body of texts ranging from letters and poetry written in Latin and Greek by Indian students at Harvard College and elsewhere in colonial New England, to English-language letters, essays, autobiographies, novels, and poems from the nineteenth century to the present day, my book will make a new contribution not only to study of the reception of ancient Greece and Rome beyond European and Euro-American contexts, but also to the ongoing history of how Native American writers have created portraits of themselves and their people, telling stories of adaptation and survival in a colonial situation.