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Dr. Erika  Zimmermann Damer
Dr. Erika Zimmermann Damer
Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Dr. Zimmermann Damer’s research focuses on gender, sexuality, embodiment, and the urban environment in Roman texts. Her first book, In the Flesh: Embodied Identities in Roman Love Elegy (Wisconsin, 2019, and now available in paperback), examines the many forms of human embodiment in the elegiac poetry of Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, ranging from the poet-speaker and the puella, to wealthy rivals and the marginalized and enslaved, and argues that elegy constructs identities that influence shifting Roman ideologies of sexuality, gender, class, and status characterizing the emergence of the Principate. This project weds feminist new materialist thought with medical, legal, and philosophical texts contemporary with Roman elegy to see the human body as a necessary precondition for elegiac identities. Her second book, co-edited with Micah Myers, Travel, Geography, and Empire in Latin Poetry (Routledge, 2021), explores how poetry spanning from Plautus to Ausonius is fundamentally shaped by its relationship to travel and movement within the geographies of the Roman Empire. She is at work on a new book demonstrating the ways non-elite Roman women shaped the urban fabric of ancient Campania and Rome.

Dr. Zimmermann Damer is also involved in an ongoing digital humanities initiative to digitize the Roman graffiti of Herculaneum and Pompeii with the Ancient Graffiti Project. This inter-institutional effort involves University of Richmond undergraduates in field campaigns in Herculaneum, Italy, and in ongoing research efforts with fellow ACS faculty leaders Rebecca Benefiel, Holly Sypniewski, and Jacqueline DiBiasie Sammons.

Grants and Fellowships

2016. “Preserving the Past through Collaborative, Technology-Enhanced Pedagogy” Faculty Advancement Grant. Co-authored with Rebecca Benefiel, Jacqueline DiBiasie, and Holly Sypniewski. Associated Colleges of the South.

2014. “Engaged Learning and Interactive Pedagogy for the (Twenty-)First Century.” Faculty Advancement Engaged Learning Grant. Co-authored with Rebecca Benefiel and Holly Sypniewski. Associated Colleges of the South.


Selected Presentations

“The Herculaneum Graffiti Project.” Co-authored with Rebecca Benefiel. Villa Vergiliana. Cuma, Italy. October 2017.

“Misreading and Rereading: The Body in Bad Faith in the Amores.” Globalizing Ovid Conference. Shanghai, China. June 2017.

“The Herculaneum Graffiti Project. Digital Humanities and Ancient Wall Inscriptions.” Friends of Herculaneum Society Panel. January 2016, SCS Annual Meeting, San Francisco. Co-authored with R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski.

“The Herculaneum Graffiti Project.” NACGLE. January 2016, San Francisco. Co-authored with R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski.

“Tibullan embodiments: slaves, soldiers, and elegiac vulnerability.” Invited Speaker for Practical Approaches to Tibullus the Idealist Conference, University of Manchester. Manchester, England. June 25-26, 2015.

“Body Talk.” Grinnell College Alumna Lecture. March 2015.

“Beyond the Elegiac Ideal.” University of Iowa. March 2015.

“Exploring Embodied Identities in Propertius and Ovid.” College of William & Mary. November 2014.

“Herculaneum Graffiti for the (Twenty-) First Century.” Invited Panelist for “From Ancient Roman Herculaneum to the Ringling Museum: Handmade or High-Tech?” October 2014, SECAC Annual Meeting.

“Walking through the City with Ovid.” Jan 2014, APA Annual Meeting, Chicago. Invited Panelist for “Travel in Roman Poetry.”

“Sex and the City: Architecture and Gender in the Ars Amatoria.” May 2012, Feminism and Classics VI. St. Catherines, Ontario.

Panel Organizer, March 2012, CAMWS Meeting, Baton Rouge. “Invective in Roman Texts of the Late Republic.” Paper: “Libera Bilis: Horatian invective in the Epodes.”

“The Poetics of Embodiment in Propertius 4.7” APA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia.

 “Homeric Greatness in Thucydides’ Sicilian Expedition.” Oct 2010, CAMWS Southern Section Meeting, Richmond.

Selected Publications

 In the Flesh: Embodied Identities in Roman Love Elegy. University of Wisconsin Press. 2019, Paperback 2021.

Travel, Geography, and Empire in Latin Poetry. Co-edited with Micah Myers. Routledge. 2021.


2021. “‘What’s in a Name?’ Mapping Women’s Names from the Graffiti of Herculaneum and Pompeii.” In Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices: Roman Material Culture and Female Agency in the Bay of Naples, edited by Brenda Longfellow and Molly Swetnam-Burland, University of Texas press, 151-73.

2021. “Competing Itineraries, Travel, and Urban Subjectivity in Ovid’s Ars Amatoria.” In Travel, Geography, and Empire in Latin Poetry, edited by Micah Young Myers and Erika Zimmermann Damer, Routledge, 114-133.

2021. with M. Y. Myers. “Introduction. Traversing Empire.” In Travel, Geography, and Empire in Latin Poetry, edited by Micah Young Myers and Erika Zimmermann Damer, Routledge, 1-24.

2020. “Reading and Misreading. The Body in Bad Faith in Ovid Amores” 妇女与性别史研究, Historical Studies of Women and Gender 4 (Shanghai, China).

2019. R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski, and E. Zimmermann Damer. “Wall Inscriptions in the Ancient City: the Ancient Graffiti Project,” in FromDocument to History: Epigraphic Insights into the Greco-Roman World, edited by Carlos F. Noreñaand Nikolaos Papazarkadas. Brill, 179-216.

2017. R. R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski, K. Helms, and E. Zimmermann Damer. "Regio I - Latium et Campania: Fascicolo III - Pompeii et Herculaneum: Graffiti," Italia Epigrafica Digitale, vol. II.3 (2017) 856 pp.

2016. “The Herculaneum Graffiti Project, First Field Season 2014.” R. Benefiel, J. DiBiasie, H. Sypniewski, E. Zimmermann Damer, K. Helms, M. Loar, K. Lundquist, F. Opdenhoff. Journal of Fasti Online.

2016. “Iambic Metapoetics in Epodes 8 and 12.” Helios43: 55 -85.

2014. Editor of “Recent Work on Tibullus.” a special issue of Classical World 107.4. Introduction, 443-450.

2014. “Gender Reversals and Intertextuality in Tibullus.” Classical World107.4, 493-514.

Additional Publications

2014-ongoing. Dr. Damer is an active contributor to the Epigraphic Database Roma, and has published wall inscriptions and drawn wall inscriptions from Herculaneum and Pompeii.

2019. Review of Laurel Fulkerson. A Literary Commentary on the Elegies of the Appendix Tibulliana, BMCR.

“Stoa.” 2018. C. Smith, ed. The Encyclopedia of Classical Archaeology. 2nd Edition. Springer, New York, 7056-7062.

2012. Review of T. Johnson. Horace’s Iambic Poetics. Casting Blame. Classical Journal Online.

2011. Review of Ryan and Perkins. Ovid’s Amores. Book One. A Commentary. BMCR.

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A., Grinnell College
Contact Information
317 Humanities Building
(804) 289-8080
Areas of Expertise
Roman Poetry of the Augustan Period
Sexuality and Gender in Antiquity
History of the Body
Roman Graffiti