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Malina Buturovic

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Bio

I am a PhD Candidate in Princeton's Department of Classics and in the Program for the Interdisciplinary Humanities, where I work on the intellectual history of family, reproduction, and heredity, with particular attention to the links between 5th-4th century BCE (‘classical’) and 1st-2nd century CE (imperial) Greek culture.

My dissertation argues that a novel, organized concept of the family as a unified phenomenon spanning “psychic” and “physical” life takes shape in imperial-era readings of classical Greek literature, medicine and philosophy. Setting Plutarch’s eschatological dialogues alongside the embryological treatises of Galen, it argues that the family comes into view as a link between eschatology and natural history—and more narrowly, as a concept entangled with both the eschatological immortality of each individual soul and the living individual’s participation in species immortality. On this view, the “family” is a uniquely significant link between the “physical” and “psychic” life of each individual, as well as between physical and psychic life in general.

These imperial Greek rereadings and reinterpretations of classical Greek material offer a powerful mirror for reflecting on modern theoretical interest in classical Greek perspectives on family. Galen’s and Plutarch’s organization of the classical tradition on family around "physical" and "psychic" life, in terms of natural history and eschatology, serves at once to denaturalize and to historicize categories like “biology” and “culture” through which modern-day thinkers navigate, make use of, accept, and circumscribe classical thinking on family.

In working through these topics, I have paid special attention to the philosophical history of ghosts and eschatology, to ancient embryology, and to the problem of "hereditary guilt" in Greek tragedy. Outside of the classics department, I spent a wonderful two years co-directing the Edwards collective, a residential community for undergraduates interested in the arts, teach courses on ancient and modern drama through the Prison Teaching Initiative, collaborate with two colleagues on a project exploring “Antiquity in the Americas,” and co-run a reading group on feminist intellectual history. Before coming to Princeton, I graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Classics, then taught Latin for a year. When off campus, I enjoy meeting goats, cooking beans, and reading Christa Wolf. I would be happy to talk with prospectives interested in any of the above!