Professor Lauren Hackworth Petersen received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in ancient Roman art and architecture. She has also done extensive research in Greek and Etruscan art and assisted with the excavations at the Etruscan-Roman habitation site at Cetamura del Chianti, Italy. Professor Petersen is a recipient of numerous awards, including an ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship, a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship, a Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, and a Fulbright Grant.
Her most recent book, The Material Life of Roman Slaves (co-authored with Sandra Joshel, Cambridge University Press, 2014), intervenes in scholarly debates on the archaeology of Roman slavery by searching for ways to see slaves in urban houses, city streets, workshops, and villas—to make slaves visible where literature, law, and art tells us they were present. The book has won the 2015 PROSE Award for Excellence in the Humanities and the PROSE Award in Classics & Ancient History.
She has two other books to her credit. Mothering and Motherhood in Ancient Greece and Rome (a co-edited project with Patricia Salzman-Mitchell, University of Texas Press, 2012) provides an interdisciplinary examination of the potentially charged roles of motherhood in ancient daily life, politics, art and architecture, and rhetoric. The Freedman in Roman Art and Art History (Cambridge University Press, 2006; paperback edition, 2011) vigorously challenges elite models that have dominated our understanding of non-elite Roman monuments and offers interpretations of artistic commissions by former slaves through a variety of approaches. Her articles appear in art historical and Classics journals, including The Art Bulletin, Arethusa, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, and Source: Notes in the History of Art. In addition, she has authored a number of essays in edited volumes. She is currently working on a book project focusing on the religions and rituals of ancient Rome.
Professor Petersen's research and teaching interests include art in the everyday life of ancient Romans, visual culture in Pompeii, the art of commemoration, classical art revivals and their meanings, and ancient constructions of gender and sexuality. She holds a Joint Appointment in the Department of Women and Gender Studies.