Professor Emma Stafford

Professor 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 (1994–95), 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 and Professor in 2020.

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


  • Director of Impact (from August 2021)
  • Study Abroad Coordinator for Classics

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 also have an interest in the reception of classical myth, especially the myth of Herakles/Hercules, and in Neoclassical allegorical sculpture.

I have nearly 30 articles/chapters in print on a variety of topics in Greek myth, religion, iconography, sexuality and reception. I am author of the monographs Worshipping Virtues: Personification and the Divine in Ancient Greece (Swansea 2000) and Herakles, in Routledge's Gods and Heroes in the Ancient World series (London 2012), and co-editor (with Judith Herrin) of Personification in the Greek World (Aldershot 2005.)  

I have contributed to half a dozen companions/enclopedias published by OUP, CUP, Wiley-Blackwell and Routledge, while 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 coordinator of 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 Herakles; a series of edited volumes is now in preparation.  The first – ed. with A. Allan and E. Anagnostou-Laoutides, Herakles Inside and Outside the ChurchFrom the First Apologists to the End of the Quattrocento (Metaforms vol. 18, Leiden: Brill) – was published in February 2020, the second – ed. with V. Mainz, The Exemplary Hercules from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment and Beyond (Metaforms vol. 20, Ledien: Brill) – in July 2020, and the third – ed. with A.J.L. Blanshard, The Modern Hercules: Images of the Hero from the Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century (Metaforms vol. 21, Leiden: Brill) – in December 2020.  The fourth and final volume, Hercules Performed, is in progress, due to be published in 2023.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">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, literature and language. I also supervise final-year projects on topics which relate to my research areas.

Current Postgraduate Researchers

  • Shakeel Ahmed, Examining the role of subaltern groups in Greek homosexual relationships and competing gender and sexual identities in ancient Greece (co-supervisor Dr Roger Brock)

Research groups and institutes

  • Cinema and Television
  • History
  • Gender
  • Heritage
  • Theatre, Music and Performance
  • Classics

Current postgraduate researchers

<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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>