Dr Emma Stafford

Dr Emma Stafford


I studied for my BA in Classics at New Hall, Cambridge (1987-90), and moved to University College London to start my PhD in 1991. 

While writing up the thesis I had part-time teaching jobs at Royal Holloway, Birkbeck and the University of Leicester (1994-5), but I started my first full-time job at the University of Wales, Lampeter in September 1995. While at Lampeter I completed my PhD (1999), as well as gaining useful experience in teaching and conference organisation. I moved to Leeds in January 2000, where I became Senior Lecturer in 2005.

In addition to my responsibilities at Leeds, I have been Publicity Officer (April 2004-2011) and then Honorary Secretary of the Classical Association (April 2011-2018).  From June 2005 to May 2008 I was Honorary Secretary of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.





  • On research leave 2019-20

Research interests

My research interests lie in various aspects of Greek cultural history, especially religion, approached via a combination of literary and material evidence. I am also developing an interest in the reception of classical myth in Victorian/Edwardian northern England and in contemporary film.

I have over 20 articles in print on a variety of topics in Greek myth, religion, iconography and sexuality.  I am author of Worshipping Virtues: Personification and the Divine in Ancient Greece (Swansea 2000) and co-editor (with Judith Herrin) of Personification in the Greek World (Aldershot 2005).  My latest book is Herakles in Routledge's Gods and Heroes in the Ancient World series (London 2012).  My commitment to communicating an interest in Classics beyond academia is demonstrated in the lavishly-illustrated Life, Myth and Art in Ancient Greece (London 2004), as well as by the regular delivery of public lectures at museums and other venues, both locally in Yorkshire and further afield.

Work currently in progress includes a book-length study of the concept and the cult of Nemesis personified, Nemesis: from classical goddess to a concept of retribution (London@ Bloomsbury Academic).  I am also coordinating the project Hercules: A Hero for All Ages, which has included conferences at Leeds in 2013 and 2017, an associated touring exhibition, The Labours of Herakles, and an oratorio; a series of edited volumes is now in preparation, the first to be published early in 2020.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MA (Cambridge)
  • PhD (London)

Professional memberships

  • Classical Association
  • Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

Student education

I teach modules which are part of Leeds' undergraduate programmes in Classical Civilisation and Ancient History, and also offered as Discovery modules.  In particular, I teach special subjects at Levels 2 and 3 which are linked to my research specialisms in Greek social history, art, myth and religion, and in their reception.  At Levels 1 and 2, I contribute to core modules in Greek history and literature.  I also supervise final-year projects and work for the MRes in Classics on topics which relate to my research areas.

Research groups and institutes

  • Cinema and Television
  • History
  • Gender
  • Heritage
  • Theatre, Music and Performance
  • Classics
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://production2.leeds.ac.uk/phd">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>