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Joseph A. Howley

Associate Professor, Classics, Columbia University

Chair, Literature Humanities, Columbia University

Governing Board Member, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2022–Present, ex-officio)

Headshot of Joseph A. Howley

Joseph A. Howley holds a PhD in Classics (2011) and an M Litt in Ancient History (2007) from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and a BA (2006) in Ancient Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). He teaches Latin, the history of the book, and Literature Humanities in Columbia’s Core Curriculum. He is Secretary of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School in Charlottesville, VA.

Professor Howley has published on the Noctes Atticae of Aulus Gellius and its intersections with Roman intellectual and reading cultures, including Roman study abroad and juristic writing. His first book, Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence and Imperial Knowledge in the Noctes Atticae, was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press.

Professor Howley’s current projects focus on the history of the book, including the early modern printing of Classical literature and the fate of Classical paratext in medieval and early modern transmission and remediation; early phonographic recordings of Greek and Latin literature; imperial-era retellings of classical myths about books and writing; and the poetics of textual materiality in Roman imperial literature.

His current book project, Slavery and the Roman Book, is a history of the Roman book seen through the lens of the enslaved labor on which it depended--for the composition of literature, the reading of books, and the production of new copies. He is also the co-organizer of the workshop series MATERIA: New Approaches to Material Text in the Roman World ( and founding co-chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Material Texts (

In his role as Chair of Literature Humanities, Professor Howley serves as an ex officio member of the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities. Elected Board members serve three-year, non-renewable terms: terms that exceed three years are served ex officio.