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Christopher Parmenter

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Christopher Parmenter

Assistant Professor


414 University Hall
230 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Archaic Greece
  • History of race
  • Cross-cultural trade
  • Slavery
  • Maritime history
  • Classical reception 


  • Ph.D. (2020) New York University, Classics “Commodity and Identity in Archaic Greece”
  • M.A. (2013) University of Oregon, Classics “Ethnography and the Colonial World in Theocritus and Lucian”
  • A.B. (2010) Hamilton College, Classical Studies and English

Christopher Stedman Parmenter is an ancient historian specializing in the intertwined histories of race, culture, and long-distance trade in Archaic and Classical Greece. Before coming to Ohio State, I held postdocs at the University of Pennsylvania (2021-22) and New York University (2020-21), where I also received my doctorate in Classics. My book project, entitled Racialized Commodities: Long-distance Trade, Mobility, and the Making of Race in Ancient Greece, c. 700-300 BCE (under contract with Oxford University Press), asks how and why Greeks came to see their Mediterranean neighbors—like the “grey-eyed Thracians” and “dark-skinned Ethiopians” listed by the poet Xenophanes around 550 BCE—as racialized ‘Others’ in the middle of the first millennium. In 2021-22, I was a national lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. As a side project, I have written on migration, whiteness, and the racialization of the Armenian American diaspora for Ajam Media Collective.

My articles cover a wide range of topics, including slavery in the world of the Archaic Black Seathe archaeology of Archaic CyprusEgyptianizing religious practices in the Archaic Greek world, and the politics of Blackness in American classical studies during the Cold War. Two current article projects explore how the late eighteenth century abolitionists Olaudah Equiano (1745-97) and Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846)--both writing before the professionalization of Classics--interpreted slavery in ancient Greece and Rome.

Another strand of my research explores how the concept of ‘race’ linked the premodern humanities with the sciences over the past 200 years. One of my recent articles explores how recent advances in archaeological genomics have unsubtly revived the concept of ‘bio-race’ in Mediterranean archaeology. I am a steadfast critic of the emerging field of so-called “genomic history” and vouch strongly from the necessity of humanistic approaches in understanding premodernity.

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