Joseph R. O’Neill is an Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College, and an affiliated lecturer in Classics (SILC). He is scholar of Greek and Roman literature, culture, and history. In Barrett’s signature course, the Human Event, Joseph uses a range of art and literature from across cultures in different eras to investigate, among other things, the ways in which human societies develop strategies for processing trauma, the centrality of language and culture to the formation and maintenance of personal and social identities, and the species and limits of human knowledge. He teaches a number of courses on aspects of Greek and Roman civilization, especially Greek and Latin literature in all its variety. He also teaches the Greek and Latin languages at all levels. He has recently taught courses on gender and sexualities in the Greek and Roman worlds; on the ways in which war, trauma and political violence are both commemorated and systematically forgotten in ancient Mediterranean societies; on powerful Roman women; and on Greek and Roman medicine. He is currently teaching an upper-division seminar on the Roman emperor Nero and the discourses of tyranny.
Joseph is also affiliated with the newly formed certificate program Veterans, Service and Society, and has developed one of the program’s core courses, a seminar on representations of veterans and service in literature and the arts.
Joseph's research is focused on Roman literature and culture, in particular, the complex relationship between the performance of social scripts (especially Roman law and legalism) and literary production.
With Barrett colleague Dr. Adam Rigoni, Joseph is co-editing a volume of essays on contemporary, multicultural, interdisciplinary redeployments of Vergil’s Aeneid, a project largely inspired by his work in veterans studies.