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James Zainaldin

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James Zainaldin

Assistant Professor

Email: jlz@ou.edu | Phone: (405) 325-0490 

Jeremy Bailey

Personal Website: https://jameszainaldin.com

I studied Classics and Philosophy at Emory (B.A., summa cum laude) and Harvard (Ph.D., Classics). Before coming to Oklahoma, I was Lecturer on the Classics at Harvard (2020–2021) and  Loeb Classical Library Postdoctoral Fellow (2021–2023).

In my teaching and research I have broad interests in Greco-Roman antiquity, with specializations in ancient philosophy; scientific and technical literature; Latin philology; and comparative Greco-Roman and Chinese studies.

My first book, published towards the end of my doctoral studies, is Gargilius Martialis: The Agricultural Fragments (Cambridge 2020). This book, which appeared in the series Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries (the “Cambridge oranges”), is a study of the fragmentary agricultural writings of the third-century African-Roman author Gargilius Martialis. My second book, in progress and based on my doctoral dissertation, is the first large-scale synthetic study of the early Imperial artes, the literary prose treatises that covered a range of subjects from architecture and agriculture to land surveying, medicine, and the art of war. I argue that the artes represent a distinctively Roman scientific culture. A third book, co-authored with Jonathan Master (Emory) and under contract with Cambridge for the series Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics (the “green and yellows”), is a commentary on the Roman philosopher Seneca’s Consolation to Marcia.

I believe in a capacious and curiosity-driven approach to Classics that puts Greco-Roman civilization into conversation with other times, places, and cultures. To that end, I have devoted much time to the study of modern and Classical Chinese with a view to comparative work. In this vein, forthcoming (at Hermes) is a long article that compares the preface to the Roman agronomist Columella’s Res rustica with that of the earliest extant Chinese agricultural treatise, the Qimin yaoshu (“Essential Techniques for the Common People”) of Jia Sixie.

I enjoy teaching courses on ancient philosophy (including politics), ancient science and technology, comparative studies, and Greek and Latin languages and literature.