Lauren Hackworth Petersen, professor of art history at the University of Delaware, has won an award for the best scholarly book in the humanities.


UD's Petersen honored for best scholarly book in the humanities


11:07 a.m., Feb. 23, 2015--Lauren Hackworth Petersen, professor and director of graduate studies in the University of Delaware’s Department of Art History, has received the American Publishers 2015 PROSE Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence, recognizing the best scholarly book in the humanities.

Cambridge University Press published Petersen’s book, The Material Life of Roman Slaves, in 2014. The book is co-authored with Sandra R. Joshel, Jon M. Bridgman Endowed Professor in the University of Washington’s Department of History. 

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The book confronts the paradox that Roman slaves were visible nearly everywhere in daily ancient Roman life, yet modern visitors of Pompeii and Herculaneum sites witness a landscape appearing untouched by slavery, and as a result slaves become erased from city narratives. 

The authors propose ways for reconstructing and seeing slaves in the various contexts where Roman law, literature and art say they were present.

Much of the research Petersen conducted for the book was based on the material culture of Roman homes, art and tombs she examined and photographed over multiple summers spent in Pompeii.

After discovering a passion for art history, Petersen earned her master's degree at Florida State University and her doctorate at the University of Texas, Austin.

A member of the UD faculty since 2000, Petersen specializes in Greek and Roman art and has participated in the Etruscan and Roman habitation site excavations in Italy. 

She has received numerous awards, including an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellowship, a Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome and a Fulbright Grant.

 ‘The Art of Seeing Slaves in Roman History’

Petersen spoke about her research in a public Feb. 19 talk that was part of the University of Delaware Library Assembly of Professional Staff (UDLAPS) Scholar in the Library series.

Her presentation, “The Art of Seeing Slaves in Roman History,” was based on the material from her book The Material Life of Roman Slaves.

Petersen’s book is currently being exhibited in the University Authors Display in the lobby of Morris Library, which features recent publications by UD authors. All publications displayed are also available in the cataloged collections in the library. 

Article by Ashley Heller

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