Heather Vincent

Associate Professor of Classics

John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award, 2018

Miller Auditorium 104A


  • Ph.D., Brown University
  • M.A., University of Maryland
  • B.S., Vanderbilt University

Research Interests

My research concerns humor and invective in Latin literature. I am interested in how writers such as Plautus, Terence, and Juvenal deployed humor for rhetorical and political purposes. By using linguistic and literary critical approaches to Latin texts, I aim to demonstrate how humor, irony, and parody disrupt our assumptions about the narrative, subject matter, and socio-political context of the work. Much of my research focuses on the explicit sexual, scatological, misogynistic, and xenophobic content of humor in ancient texts. I ask whether laughter at offensive content constitutes a kind of complicity on the part of the reader, and if so, how does that complicity change the reader’s relationship to the text? Most importantly, why does it matter?

Courses Offered

My research interests in sexuality and gender are reflected in many of my course offerings. I offer courses in Latin, Greek, Classics, Ancient Studies, and in the interdisciplinary Honors Program. Recent courses listed below.

Language Courses:

  • Homer (Greek 210)
  • Greek Tragedy and the Koine New Testament (Greek 310)
  • Herodotus (Greek 310)
  • Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae (Greek 210/290)
  • Terence (Latin 310)
  • Seneca & Petronius (Latin 202 and 310)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses (Latin 201/310)

Classics and Ancient Studies Courses:

  • Classical Mythology (CL 200H)
  • Greek Tragedy in Contemporary Film & Literature (CL 261H)
  • Ancient Comedy in Contemporary Film and Literature (CL 262H)
  • Ancient Greek History (CL 242H)
  • Women & Gender in the Ancient World (CL 203H)
  • Identity, Race, Ethnicity in the Ancient World (AS 301G) [Previously titled: Ancient ‘Barbarians’: Self & Other]

Interdisciplinary and Team-Taught Courses:

  • Sex & Gender in the Ancient World (WG 360H), team taught with Prof. Amy Langenberg (Religious Studies)
  • Perspectives on Sex & Gender (HP 220), team taught with Prof. Lisa Bonner (Chemistry)
  • Human & Post-Human Environments (HP 230E), team taught with Prof. Kelly Debure (Computer Science)
  • Ancient Barbarians: Self & Other (AS 301G), a Mellon undergraduate research seminar, team taught with Prof. Andrew Chittick (East Asian Studies)

On-Campus Winter Term and Autumn Term Courses:

  • Imagining War, Then & Now (WT)
  • Unsp*k@able Acts: Myth and Meaning in Greek Tragedy (AT)

Courses Abroad:

  • Spoils of Empire: Stolen Treasures & Other Mysteries of the British Museum
  • Immortal Greece: History & Art
  • Discovering Italy: Iron Age to Roman Empire

Select Publications

  • Vincent, H. 2018.  Review: Massih Zekavat, Satire, Humor, and the Construction of Identities. European Journal of Humor Research, forthcoming.
  • Vincent, H. 2014. “Sexual Transgression – Roman World” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of  Bible & Gender Studies (OEBGS), Ed. Julia O’Brien, et al. Oxford.
  • Vincent, H. 2013. “Language and Humor: Fabula Stataria and Laughter in Terence” in  Companion to Terence (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World), Eds. John Thorburn and Antonios Augoustakis. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
  • Vincent, H. 2011. “Narrative Strategy and Humor in Juvenal 15” New England Classical  Journal (NECJ) 38.4: 239-266.
  • Vincent, H. 2010. “Roman Satire and the General Theory of Verbal Humor (GTVH)” in  Dimensions of Humor: Explorations in Linguistics, Literature, Cultural Studies, and Translation. Ed. Carmen Valero-Garces. University of Valencia (Spain). pp. 417-450.
  • Vincent, H. 2010. “Is this a Joke? Understanding Humor in Roman Satire” International  Journal of the Classical Tradition (IJCT) 17.2: 264-275. Review article on Plaza, M. The Function of Humour in Roman Verse Satire: Laughing and Lying, 2nd ed.

Banner photo: Artifacts from Palace of Knossos by Emily Ashe ’20