Sarah Levin-Richardson

Sarah Levin-Richardson

Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize
September 1, 2014–July 31, 2015
Profession
Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of Washington
Project title
Beyond Sex: Society and Identity in Pompeii’s Purpose-Built Brothel
Project description

As the only structure fulfilling all scholarly criteria for an ancient Roman brothel, Pompeii’s purpose-built brothel (VII.12.18-20) plays a fundamental role in understanding erotic art, gender and sexuality, and the architecture and economy of prostitution, yet it remains one of the least-studied structures at Pompeii. Drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship and comparative material, “Beyond Sex: Society and Identity in Pompeii’s Purpose-Built Brothel” examines all of the structure’s physical evidence together to offer the first monograph on the purpose-built brothel. In doing so, it illuminates a world where slaves were encouraged to act like real men, where prostitutes could claim themselves as sexual agents despite having little control over their sexual labor, and where prostitutes and clients carried out affective relationships through dining, gift exchange, greetings, taunts, and jokes.