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Professor Sarah Iles Johnston

Photo of Sarah Johnston

What are your areas of study/research? 

Ancient Greek Myths and Religions

What is your hometown?

I was born in Bowling Green, OH, but moved around a lot as a kid. I consider Worthington, OH my hometown, since I've lived here 35 years—more than half my life!

What degrees do you hold and from where?

BS Journalism (magna cum laude) Univ. of Kansas; BA Classics (summa cum laude) from Univ of Kansas; Masters and Doctorate in Classics from Cornell

Why did you choose to study the Classics?

I am intensely interested in all cultures' religions and myths but have been particularly fascinated by Greek myths for as long as I can remember. So, ancient Greek and Roman religions and myths—and to some extent the myths and religions of other ancient Mediterranean lands—were a natural focus for me, and to study them, I needed to study Classics.

What do you like most about the Department of Classics?

The friendliness of my colleagues and their openness to new ideas in teaching and research.

What kind of work or research are you doing now in Classics?

Two things: (1) I am writing a public-facing book called *Arachne's Threads: Why Myths Mattered to the Greeks and Still Matter Now* which answers questions that I am often asked by my myth students, such as 'did the Greeks really believe in their myths?' (2) I am taking a break from Classics to write a book on the religious affordance of modern supernatural horror fiction.

What advice would you give to students considering pursuing a major or minor in Classics?

Explore the whole breadth of the topics that our department offers! Classics offers many great insights into life.