Professor Elena Isayev

Professor of Ancient History and Place


Extension: 4200

Telephone: 01392 724200

CV for Professor Elena Isayev

A historian who uses the ancient Mediterranean to explore migration, belonging, displacement and spatial perception, my research ranges from  histories of pre-Roman Italy through material remains (Lucania 2007), to deconstructing theories of generation conflict and youth (in Historia 2007), addressing conceptual issues of mobility (Migration Mobility and Place in Ancient Italy, Cambridge, 2017), and leading archaeological excavations in Italy and Kazakhstan.

My current research is based on 3 intersecting strands:

1) Hospitality and Asylum: asks what compels people to provide support & how hospitality is a measure of society

2) Potency of Displaced Agency: exposes contexts of power & agency – action – of refugees & asylum seekers.

3) Common and Public Space: questions the publicness of public space & highlights alternative common spaces.

I find inspiring and essential interdisciplinary and inter-practice approaches, that lead to collective learning and research beyond the academy, e.g. Routes - Migration Hub, at Exeter, and the pilot: My teaching reflects these interests, integrating diverse sources, models and incorporating practitioners in creating an image of the past (and present): e.g. the course Ancient Journeys and MigrantsI cherish and welcome supervising students whose work incorporates these diverse fields.

Addressing preconceived ideas about ancient society that also affect understandings of today's world, are explorations under the umbrella term Future Memory (funded by AHRC Beyond Text et al., click here). These have led to co-creation with artists, musicians, and communities in Exeter, Swansea, and Glasgow (see Public Engagement section). Initiatives with Campus in Camps have allowed for continuing investigations in contexts beyond the Nation State ( and led to co-publication with practitioners and students: XENIA (