Skip to main content

Thomas Habinek

Professor of Classics

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-3684
Office: THH 256

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. Classical Philology, Harvard University, 6/1981
A.B. Classics, Princeton University, 6/1975

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Thomas Habinek has been Professor of Classics at USC since 1992 and is currently in his seventh year as chair of the department. His areas of interest include Latin literature, Roman cultural history, and ancient rhetoric and oratory. Two new books appeared in 2005: The World of Roman Song: From Ritualized Speech to Social Order (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory, part of Blackwell Publishers’ new series of introductions to the ancient world. Other recent publications include the article on "Slavery and Class" in the Blackwell Companion to Latin Literature, ed. S.J. Harrison; an essay entitled "Satire as Aristocratic Play" in the Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire, ed. K. Freudenburg; The Politics of Latin Literature (Princeton 1998; paperback 2001); and The Roman Cultural Revolution, co-edited with Alessandro Schiesaro (Cambridge 1997; paperback 2001). He is an editor of the journal Classical Antiquity and editor of the book series Classics and Contemporary Thought, published by the University of California Press.

Professor Habinek teaches a wide range of courses, including undergraduate lecture courses on Classical Mythology, Roman Civilization, and Diversity and the Western Tradition, major courses on Greek and Latin poetry and prose, and graduate seminars on Roman literature and culture. Awards and honors include two fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Associates’ Award for Excellence in Teaching, USC’s highest teaching honor. He is currently in the early stages of a project on changing concepts of mimesis in Western literature and art, especially in relationship to new developments in the cognitive and social sciences. In spring 2006 he will teach an interdisciplinary honors course in the Thematic Option program entitled “Science, Art, and the Human Subject” (CORE 101) and co-teach a Classics graduate seminar, with Professor Claudia Moatti, entitled “Writing History in Ancient and Modern Times.”

Research Specialties

Latin literature, Roman Cultural History, Classical Rhetoric, Theories of Imitation



Habinek, T. (2011). Cicero On Living and Dying Well. Penguin Books.
Habinek, T. (2005). The World of Roman Song: From Ritualized Speech to Social Order. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Habinek, T. (2005). Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory. Blackwell Publishers.
Habinek, T. (1998). The Politics of Latin Literature: Writing, Identity, and Empire in Ancient Rome. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Habinek, T. (1997). The Roman Cultural Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Habinek, T. (1985). The Colometry of Latin Prose. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Book Chapter

Habinek, T. (2011). Tentacular Mind: Stoicism, Neuroscience, and the Configurations of Physical Reality, in Bridging the Gap between Neuroscience and the Humanities. Bridging the Humanities-Neuroscience Divide pp. 64-83. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Habinek, T. (2011). "Rhetoric, Music, and the Arts in Classical Rome", commissioned chapter for Oxford Handbook to Classical Rhetoric, ed. M. MacDonald.
Habinek, T. (2010). "Manilius' Conflicted Stoicism" in Forgotten Stars: Rediscovering Manilius' Astronomica. pp. 34-47. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Habinek, T. (2009). "Situating Literacy at Rome" in Ancient Literacies, ed. W. Johnson and H. Parker. pp. 114-40. Oxford University Press.
Habinek, T. (2007). Probing the Entrails of the Universe: Astrology as Bodily Knowledge in Manilius' Astronomica. (Vol. NA). pp. 229-240. Cambridge, UK: Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire/Cambridge University Press.
Habinek, T. (2005). Slavery and Class. pp. p. 385-393. England: A Companion to Latin Literature/Blackwell.
Habinek, T. (2005). Satire as Aristocratic Play. (Vol. 177-91). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire/Cambridge University Press.
Habinek, T. (1997). The Invention of Sexuality in the World-City of Rome. pp. p. 23-43. Cambridge, UK: The Roman Cultural Revolution/Cambridge University Press.

Book Review

Habinek, T. (2008). Featured Review of M. Beard, The Roman Triumph. American Historical Review.

Journal Article

Habinek, T. (2010). Ancient Art vs. Modern Aesthetics: A Naturalist Perspective. Arethusa. Vol. 43, pp. 215-230.
Habinek, T. (2006). The Wisdom of Ennius. Arethusa/Johns Hopkins University Press. Vol. 39 (2006) 471-88
Habinek, T. (2000). "Seneca's Renown: Gloria, Claritudo, and the Replication of the Roman Elite". Classical Antiquity/University of California Press. Vol. 19 (2000) 264-303

Honors and Awards

Best Book in Classics and Ancient History, American Association of Publishers, 2/2006-  
USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 11/2005-  
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, 2003  
USC Associates Award For Excellence In Teaching, 2000  
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, 1984  

Service to the University


Chair, College Dean's Advisory Council on the Humanities, 09/01/2010-06/30/2012  
Member, University Strategic Planning Committee, 2010-2011   
Chair, College Dean's Advisory Council on the Humanities, 2009-2010   

Service to the Profession

Administrative Appointments

Chair, Department of Classics, 2002-  

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Editor, Classical Antiquity, 1986-  
University of California Press, Book Series: Classics and Contemporary Thought, 1992-2010  

Professional Memberships

College Art Association, 2006-  
International Society for the History of Rhetoric, 2006-  
Vergil Society of America, 2004-  
American Philological Association, 1980-  
Faculty may update their profile by visiting