Carissa Chappell

Graduate Student
Ancient Fiction, Tragedy, Queer Theory, Disability Studies, Narratology
HSSB 4060


I graduated from Emory University in Atlanta in 2021 with a BA in Classics and a BS in Chemistry. Ancient fiction caught and held my attention for the first time in a freshman seminar on the ancient Greek and Roman novels; a few years later, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Leucippe and Cleitophon and the Aithiopika, arguing that narrative and metanarrative performances of sophrosune (chastity, self-awareness, self-restraint) create a false sense of closure for these novels. Now, working on my PhD here at UC Santa Barbara, I study asexuality, transness, and chronic illness as valuable frameworks for understanding the complex narrative structures and nonnormative relationships of ancient fiction.

As a queer, disabled classicist, I am invested in ancient literature as a tool for negotiating power and accessibility in and out of academia. Like all stories, ancient narratives are tools; they oppress and advocate depending on who tells them, how, and why. By analyzing ancient fiction with a focus on the experiences of people it has been and is still being used to silence, my research centers ancient and modern narratives which are too often ignored. I aim to rethink ways of reading ancient fiction and recognizing ourselves in stories across time, no matter who or when we are, and I am glad to be in a department which supports and encourages this work.