Skip to main content

Denise Demetriou

Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas Chair in Ancient Greek History

Professor Demetriou received her Ph.D. in Classics from Johns Hopkins University in 2005 and taught for nine years at Michigan State University before joining the History Faculty at UC San Diego. She studies the history of the Mediterranean region from a wide perspective that integrates the interconnected histories of Greeks, Phoenicians, Persians, and others who lived in the region.

Her most recent book, Phoenicians Among Others: Why Migrants Mattered in the Ancient Mediterranean (Oxford University Press) provides the first history of Phoenician immigrants in the ancient Mediterranean from the fourth to the first centuries BCE. Through an examination of inscriptions, many bilingual in Phoenician and Greek or Egyptian, the book highlights the diverse ways that migrants influenced the development of societies, introduced new institutions, shaped the policies of their home and host states, made notions of citizenship more fluid, and changed the course of local, regional, and Mediterranean histories. Phoenicians Among Others received support from the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC, and the Getty Research Institute.

She is also the author of Negotiating Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean: The Archaic and Classical Greek Multiethnic Emporia (Cambridge University Press 2012), which showed that sustained cross-cultural interactions among different Mediterranean groups resulted in a shared and evolving culture based around city-states, polytheistic religious systems that were easily translatable among different groups, and artifacts or styles that comprised a common material culture. The book also argued that cultic practices mediated relations among diverse populations and helped construct distinct and even new identities. Negotiating Identity received support from the Mary Isabel Fellowship for Greek Studies and a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship. 

In addition to these books, Professor Demetriou has co-edited (with Amalia Avramidou) Approaching the Ancient Artifact: Representation, Narrative and Function (De Gruyter 2104). Together with Amalia Avramidou she co-led one of the summer seminars of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens in July 2022. 

She is currently working on another book on the anxiety ancient Greek authors express about relentless technological development and the necessity of humanistic values in achieving happiness and living a good life.

At UC San Diego, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on ancient Greek history, contributes to the Humanities Program at Revelle College, and is an affiliate faculty member in the Classical Studies Program. She served as director of UC San Diego's Center for Hellenic Studies from 2016--2020 and will be the Center's co-director from 2022 to 2026.

Center for Hellenic Studies

The Center for Hellenic Studies at UC San Diego offers a unique way to examine the history, culture and physical remains of over 3,000 years of Greek history. The Center is a modern forum where local and international faculty, researchers and students can collaborate and study the Hellenic world.