Steven Ostrow

MIT Research Affiliate

Steven Ostrow has been a MIT Research Affiliate since retiring in July 2018 from active teaching with the History section, where he has held a variety of 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 Roman urban history (including 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 HistoriaAmerican Journal of ArchaeologyPuteoli, 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 many dozens of study programs based in Rome, the Naples Bay area, and across Sicily, central and northern Italy, and Greece over the past four decades (for the Vergilian Society, Dartmouth, and since 2006 for MIT students). He is spending the 2018-2019 academic year in Rome, as an Associate Visiting Scholar at the American Academy.

At MIT he 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 has been co-director with several colleagues of the History/Concourse “IAP in Ancient and Medieval Italy” and “IAP in Ancient Greece” offered jointly by the History section and Concourse program. Since January 2006 these have welcomed a dozen and more groups of MIT undergrads to alternating archaeological study tours of Rome and the Naples Bay area (including Pompeii), and (beginning in 2015) also Athens, Delphi, Olympia and other sites of central Greece.