Joy Connolly studied classics at Princeton (A.B. 1991) and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. 1997) and taught at the University of Washington and Stanford University before coming to NYU in 2004. She works mainly on Roman ideas about politics, rhetoric, and aesthetics, their reception in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England and America, and their ongoing relevance for contemporary democratic life.
Her first book, The State of Speech (Princeton 2007), placed the ability to communicate at the heart of Roman ideals of citizenship. The Life of Roman Republicanism (forthcoming, Princeton 2014) examines key themes and affects in Roman republican political thought: freedom, recognition, antagonism, self-knowledge, irony, and imagination. Her next project, Talk About Virtue (under contract in the Classical Inter/Faces series with Bloomsbury Press) spotlights key moments in the revival of ideals of Roman civic virtue in revolutionary thought and practice in the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Themes of special interest include nostalgia, violence, and extremism, and the thinkers studied range from Benjamin Constant to Hannah Arendt.
She has published articles on Roman and Greek rhetoric (especially the “school exercise” of declamation) and on the literary genres of elegy, epic, and pastoral poetry. Her reviews have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, the Women’s Review of Books, Bookforum, and The New York Times Book Review. She has worked as a player/interpreter with the Berlin-based artist Tino Sehgal in pieces mounted at the Marion Goodman Gallery and the Guggenheim Museum.
Professor Connolly has taught undergraduate courses on ancient political theory, Roman cultural identity, and a course in NYU’s core curriculum, “Texts and Ideas: The Deliberating Citizen.” Recent graduate seminars have tackled Greek and Roman rhetoric, Latin pastoral poetry, and Roman republican literature and culture. Among her awards and honors are fellowships at Stanford University, the Princeton University Center for Human Values, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, as well as NYU’s Golden Dozen Teaching Award.
Part of a future project on ethics and literary interpretation, her edition of Wilkie Collins’ nineteenth-century classic detective novel The Moonstone was published in 2005. Other near-future projects include essays on the emergence of Athens as a idealized transnational space in Roman thought, on the usefulness of contemporary fan fiction for understanding Roman poetry, and on anti-democratic and anti-intellectual trends in American public discourse.