Rachel Ahern Knudsen

Rachel Ahern Knudsen

Assistant Professor

Email: rknudsen@ou.edu | Phone: 325-6921 | Office: CARN 116 | Full CV


I am interested in the Homeric epics and Archaic poetry, but also in the representation of speech across all genres of ancient poetry and prose. This has led me to explore the ways in which the ancients developed and contested theories of rhetoric, from the fifth-century BCE sophists in Athens to the Second Sophistic and Roman rhetoric in the first centuries CE. I am particularly interested in the intersection of rhetorical techniques with poetic genres; this intersection has formed the basis of several forthcoming projects, including the book manuscript I am currently finishing based on my dissertation "The Artificer of Discourse: Homeric Speech and the Origins of Rhetoric."


I am also passionate about incorporating these research interests into my teaching, and in showing students the relevance of ancient poetry and rhetoric to modern life. One example of this is the Gen Ed course I have developed at OU entitled "Ancient Rhetoric in Theory and Practice." This course examines manifestations of rhetoric from Homer to Quintilian, and also uses video and discussion of modern rhetorical discourse to explore connections between the ancient and modern worlds.


I received my A.B. in Classics from Harvard ('02) and then spent a year in Oxford studying for a Master of Studies (M.St.) degree in Greek and Latin Languages and Literature. In between these degrees I participated in a summer session of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. I received my Ph.D. from Stanford ('09), where my final year was funded by a Geballe dissertation prize fellowship at the Stanford Humanities Center.