Steven Ostrow

Lecturer in History


A.B. Brown University, 1968
M.A. University of Michigan, 1969
Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1977

Steven Ostrow has held a variety of MIT teaching positions since 1991 in Greek, Roman, and Medieval European history, and in Latin literature.  Trained as an ancient historian and classical archaeologist, his research interests have focused on the historical topography of Rome's major harbor city of Puteoli on the Bay of Naples, and on the social mobility of Roman freedmen.  His publications include articles and reviews that have appeared in Historia, American Journal of Archaeology, Puteoli, the Journal of the Classical Assoc. of New England, and the Journal of Roman Archaeology; and a chapter in the volume Toward a New Assessment of Augustus and His Principate (eds. K. Raaflaub and M. Toher).

Ostrow received the B.A. degree from Brown University, his graduate degrees from the University of Michigan (M.A. in Classical Studies, Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology), and a Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome.  His teaching prior to MIT included positions at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, University of Colorado (Boulder), Dartmouth College, and the College of the Holy Cross.  He has worked at excavation sites in Italy, Libya, Tunisia, and Cyprus, as well as leading dozens of study programs based in Rome, the Naples Bay area, and across Sicily, central and northern Italy, and Greece over the past three decades (for the Vergilian Society, Dartmouth, and during the past ten years for MIT students).

At MIT he has regularly taught a survey course in ancient Greek history (21H.130), and on frequent occasion its companion course in Roman history (21H.132), as well as lending a hand in 21H.134 ("Medieval European Economy in Comparative Perspective").  He is co-director with two colleagues of the History Faculty's "IAP in Ancient and Medieval Italy," which, since January 2006, has welcomed nine groups of MIT undergrads to an archaeological study tour of Rome and the Naples Bay area (including Pompeii).  Most recently in January 2015 he co-directed a new companion program -- "IAP in Ancient Greece" (Athens, & well beyond) -- and now looks forward to the January 2016 edition of IAP-Italy.