Katharine Temple von Stackelberg

Faculty of Humanities

Katharine Temple von Stackelberg

Rank: Assistant Professor
Department: Classics
Ext: 5374
E-mail: kvonstackelberg@brocku.ca

Work currently in progress, or about to be begun, along with indication of when the project is likely to culminate and what form it will take:

My research on the perception and reception of Roman garden space currently addresses the relationship between bodies and environmental constructs, and the interaction between garden space and sexuality. In particular, I’m focusing on the presence of the hermaphrodite body in Roman domestic garden and the dynamics of im/emplacement between viewed and viewing bodies. I am currently revising a paper on the subject for publication under the working title “Garden Hybrids: Hermaphrodite Space in the Roman House”.

I will be contributing my work on erotic space in Columella as part of the ‘Space in the Ancient World’ seminar series at the University of Exeter, UK in 2010. The results of this series are intended for publication by the University of Exeter Press.

I have also been invited to submit the entries for “Columella”, “Horticulture”, and “Roman Landscapes”, in R. Bagnall et al. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2010). My review of F. Giacobello (2008) Larari pompeiani. Iconografia e culto dei Lari in ambito domestico (Milano LED, 2008), will appear in the Journal of Roman Archaeology in June 2010.

My next major project, starting in 2010, will research the reception of Roman villa gardens as cultural artefacts in late 19th and early 20th century Europe and America. I focus on the period from 1873 to 1974, framing it with two related events: Henry James’ visit to Rome in 1873 and the opening of the J. Paul Getty Museum Villa in 1974. This study explores the intersection between the visual language of classical gardened landscapes and ‘New World’ ideology as a vehicle for contemporary self-representation and dialectical experience. Individually, these residences are curiosities, but as a group they form an interpretive framework for the representation and reception of ‘Antiquity’ to project a message of personal and national ascendancy. My intention is to publish the results as a monograph.

As an ongoing project, I am involved in organising Greenscapes ~ Sense and Meaning, a biannual event that explores connective aspects of environmental culture: landscape architecture, literature, art, history and urban design. The next Greenscapes will be in 2011.

Work previously undertaken, research achievements or projects completed:


  • The Roman Garden: Space, Sense and Society (Routledge 2009).


  • “Performative Space and Transgressive Gardens in Tacitus’ Death of Messalina”, in American Journal of Philology 130: 595-624 (2009).

Chapter in Book:

  • “Eastward in Eden: The Pre-Classical Roots of Meaning in Mediterranean Gardens”, in J. Dixon Hunt, M. Leslie and K. Gleason (eds.) A Cultural History of Gardens Vol. I: A History of Gardens in the Ancient World (Berg, forthcoming 2010).
  • “Literary Representations of the Ancient Garden: 500 BC-AD 500” (with Antony Littlewood), in J. Dixon Hunt, M. Leslie and K. Gleason (eds.) A Cultural History of Gardens Vol. I: A History of Gardens in the Ancient World (Berg, forthcoming 2010).

Event Organiser:

  • Greenscapes ~ Sense and Meaning: Fields of Dreams (Landscapes of Myth and Imagination), October 2009.
  • Greenscapes ~ Sense and Meaning: The Garden in the City, October 2007.

Select Recent Presentations:

  • Sexing the Garden: Performance Anxiety in Columella De Agricultura 10, Arethusa Seminar Series, Department of Classics, SUNY Buffalo, USA, April 2009.


  • From Homer to Horace: How to Excavate an Imaginary Garden, Archaeological Institute of America, Niagara Peninsula, Canada, 2009.


  • The Art of Limitation: Framing the Villa Landscape, Classical Association of Canada Annual Meeting, University of British Columbia, Canada, 2009.


  • Ancient Bodies, Modern Sex, Department of Visual Arts, Brock University, Canada, 2009.


  • Garden Hybrids: Hermaphrodite Space in the Roman House, at “Bringing It All Back Home: Feminism and the Classics V”, University of Michigan, USA, 2008.


  • Representing the Roman Villa Garden: Inspiration, Transition and Legitimization in Europe and America at “Past Perfected: Antiquity and its Reinventions”, National Committee for the History of Art, Huntington Library and Getty Villa, USA, 2006.


  • Hortus: Cultural Self-Definition and the Aesthetics of Production in Roman Garden Space, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA, 2005.

Research Grants held (including dates) and Research Awards or Honours:

  • 2009 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada
  • 2009 Humanities Research Institute Research Grant, Brock University.
  • 2006 Brock University Advancement Fund Special Purpose Grant.
  • 2006 Humanities Research Institute Research Grant, Brock University.
  • 2004-2005 Garden and Landscape Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • 2001-2003 Research scholar, Institute for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, Trinity College Dublin. 

Areas of Research Interest (in brief):

Roman History, Ancient Environment, Roman gardens, American gardens, space theory, Latin epistolary tradition, Graeco-Roman food and dining rituals.