Professor Elena Isayev

Professor of Ancient History and Place


Extension: 4200

Telephone: 01392 724200

I am a historian who uses the ancient Mediterranean, and in particular Italy, as a way to explore migration, belonging and the construction of place. My research and teaching interests range from histories of pre-Roman groups in Italy, through material remains (Lucania 2006), to deconstructing theories of generation conflict and youth in republican Rome (in Historia 2007). Currently I am focusing on ancient mobility and spatial perception (Migration Mobility and Place forthcoming 2016, with CUP), a project that was made possible by a Fellowship at the Davis Center in Princeton and the AHRC. I am a keen supporter of interdisciplinary initiatives, and have organised workshops on peace, poverty, suicide, and co-directed the Migration Network at Exeter, and am currently co-leader of the theme Migration, Empires and Identities.  I have also lead archaeological excavations in Italy and Kazakhstan. The courses which I teach reflect many of these interests and encourage the integration of different forms of evidence and models in creating an image of the past, particularly in the MA entitled Migration and the Migrant through ancient and modern eyes, and in supervising the innovative PhD dissertations that incorporate these diverse fields.

Since many of these investigations challenge preconceived ideas and stereotypes within and about ancient society, which also effect our understanding of the contemporary world, I have devised a number of projects to explore this further with artists and members of the wider community, especially school children.  Under the umbrella term Future Memory (initially funded by the AHRC Beyond Text Scheme, click here), these projects have brought together an international group of artists, musicians, and communities in Exeter, Swansea, and Glasgow (see Public Engagement section for further details).

Beyond research and teaching within the University my roles have included: Chair of Academic Senators, Director of Admissions and External Relations for Humanities and Social Sciences, Director of Education, and Member of the University Strategy, Performance and Resources Committee.   Outside of the University my roles include treasurer for the Reid Trust (providing higher education grants for women), and positions on the following bodies: Council of University Classics Departments (CUCD), AHRC Peer Review College, Romanian National Council, Faculty of the British School at Rome, editorial advisory board for the series: Studies in Roman Space and Urbanism (Ashgate). Duties as external examiner and programme reviewer have been conducted with the Universities of Durham, Kent, Lampeter and Leicester.