Ava Shirazi
Ava Shirazi
Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities, Classics, and Humanistic Studies
Perkins-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows
Greek Literature and Philosophy


20 Joseph Henry House
Office Hours: 
By appointment

Ava Shirazi


Ava Shirazi received her Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University and holds a B.A. in Classics and English from the University of Toronto. Her research brings together ancient Greek literature, philosophy, and material culture, with a special focus on topics of aesthetics, sensory perception, and the correlation between objects and concepts in cultural experience. These issues have motivated her current book project, “The Mirror and the Senses: Reflection and Perception in Classical Greek Thought.” Unlike glass mirrors today, which embody and signify accuracy in the creation of images, the earliest Greek mirrors were made of bronze. Her project looks at how this particular and very different type of reflective medium shaped discourses about visual experience and the senses in ancient Greece. She offers a detailed analysis of the literary, philosophical, scientific and material conventions surrounding Greek mirrors and sensory perception in the 6th to the 4th centuries BCE, when bronze mirrors proliferated in production and popularity. The project is based on her doctoral dissertation which was awarded the Mellon Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship at Stanford University (2016/1017). During her time at the Society of Fellows, she will also begin work on a second book project under the working title, “Light and Enlightenment in the Greco-Roman World.” Other works in progress include essays on literary criticism before Plato, approaches to visuality in non-canonical fourth-century BC prose, beautification and aesthetics in Greek painting and poetry, and materiality and subjectivity in Greek tragedy. At Princeton, she will also be affiliated with the Department of Classics, and she looks forward to offering interdisciplinary courses on the history of vision(s) as well as to co-teaching “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture” (HUM 216) in the fall.

back to top