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Dr. Erika  Zimmermann Damer
Dr. Erika Zimmermann Damer
Associate Professor of Classical Studies
Program Coordinator, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Dr. Zimmermann Damer’s research focuses on sexuality, gender, embodiment, and the urban environment in Roman texts of the Augustan period. Her forthcoming book, In the Flesh: Embodied Identities in Roman Love Elegy examines the many forms of human embodiment in the elegiac poetry of Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, ranging from the poet-speaker and the puella, to wealthy rivals and the marginalized and enslaved, and argues that elegy constructs identities that influence shifting Roman ideologies of sexuality, gender, class, and status characterizing the emergence of the Principate. This project weds feminist new materialist philosophical thought with medical, legal, and philosophical texts contemporary with Roman elegy to see the human body as a necessary precondition for elegiac identities.

Dr. Zimmermann Damer is also involved in an ongoing digital humanities initiative to digitize the Roman graffiti of Herculaneum and Pompeii with the Ancient Graffiti Project. This inter-institutional effort involves University of Richmond undergraduates in field campaigns in Herculaneum, Italy, and in ongoing research efforts with fellow ACS faculty leaders Rebecca Benefiel, Holly Sypniewski, and Jacqueline DiBiasie Sammons.

Grants and Fellowships

2016. “Preserving the Past through Collaborative, Technology-Enhanced Pedagogy” Faculty Advancement Grant. Co-authored with Rebecca Benefiel, Jacqueline DiBiasie, and Holly Sypniewski. Associated Colleges of the South.

2014. “Engaged Learning and Interactive Pedagogy for the (Twenty-)First Century.” Faculty Advancement Engaged Learning Grant. Co-authored with Rebecca Benefiel and Holly Sypniewski. Associated Colleges of the South.


Selected Presentations

“The Herculaneum Graffiti Project.” Co-authored with Rebecca Benefiel. Villa Vergiliana. Cuma, Italy. October 2017.

“Misreading and Rereading: The Body in Bad Faith in the Amores.” Globalizing Ovid Conference. Shanghai, China. June 2017.

“The Herculaneum Graffiti Project. Digital Humanities and Ancient Wall Inscriptions.” Friends of Herculaneum Society Panel. January 2016, SCS Annual Meeting, San Francisco. Co-authored with R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski.

“The Herculaneum Graffiti Project.” NACGLE. January 2016, San Francisco. Co-authored with R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski.

“Tibullan embodiments: slaves, soldiers, and elegiac vulnerability.” Invited Speaker for Practical Approaches to Tibullus the Idealist Conference, University of Manchester. Manchester, England. June 25-26, 2015.

“Body Talk.” Grinnell College Alumna Lecture. March 2015.

“Beyond the Elegiac Ideal.” University of Iowa. March 2015.

“Exploring Embodied Identities in Propertius and Ovid.” College of William & Mary. November 2014.

“Herculaneum Graffiti for the (Twenty-) First Century.” Invited Panelist for “From Ancient Roman Herculaneum to the Ringling Museum: Handmade or High-Tech?” October 2014, SECAC Annual Meeting.

“Walking through the City with Ovid.” Jan 2014, APA Annual Meeting, Chicago. Invited Panelist for “Travel in Roman Poetry.”

“Sex and the City: Architecture and Gender in the Ars Amatoria.” May 2012, Feminism and Classics VI. St. Catherines, Ontario.

Panel Organizer, March 2012, CAMWS Meeting, Baton Rouge. “Invective in Roman Texts of the Late Republic.” Paper: “Libera Bilis: Horatian invective in the Epodes.”

“The Poetics of Embodiment in Propertius 4.7” APA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia.

 “Homeric Greatness in Thucydides’ Sicilian Expedition.” Oct 2010, CAMWS Southern Section Meeting, Richmond.

Selected Publications

 In the Flesh: Embodied Identities in Roman Love Elegy. University of Wisconsin Press. 2019.


R. R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski, K. Helms, and E. Zimmermann Damer. 2017. "Regio I - Latium et Campania: Fascicolo III - Pompeii et Herculaneum: Graffiti," Italia Epigrafica Digitale, vol. II.3 (2017) 856 pp.

2016. “The Herculaneum Graffiti Project, First Field Season 2014.” R. Benefiel, J. DiBiasie, H. Sypniewski, E. Zimmermann Damer, K. Helms, M. Loar, K. Lundquist, F. Opdenhoff. Journal of Fasti Online.

2016. “Iambic Metapoetics in Epodes 8 and 12.” Helios 43: 55 -85.

2014. Editor of “Recent Work on Tibullus.” a special issue of Classical World 107.4.

Introduction to special issue of Classical World 107.4, Recent Work on Tibullus, pages 443-450.

Gender Reversals and Intertextuality in Tibullus.” Classical World 107.4, pages 493-514.

“Stoa.” 2014. C. Smith, ed. The Encyclopedia of Classical Archaeology. Springer, New York, pages 7056-7062.

2019. R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski, and E. Zimmermann Damer. “Wall Inscriptions in the Ancient City: the Ancient Graffiti Project,” in From Document to History: Epigraphic Insights into the Greco-Roman World, edited by Carlos F. Noreña and Nikolaos Papazarkadas. (Brill), p. 179- 216.

Additional Publications

2014-ongoing. Dr. Damer is an active contributor to the Epigraphic Database Roma, and has published wall inscriptions and drawn wall inscriptions from Herculaneum and Pompeii.

2012. Review of T. Johnson. Horace’s Iambic Poetics. Casting Blame. Classical Journal Online.

2011. Review of Ryan and Perkins. Ovid’s Amores. Book One. A Commentary. BMCR.

2019. Review of Laurel Fulkerson. A Literary Commentary on the Elegies of the Appendix Tibulliana, BMCR.

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A., Grinnell College
Contact Information
109 Ryland Hall
(804) 289-8080
Areas of Expertise
Roman Poetry of the Augustan Period
Sexuality and Gender in Antiquity
History of the Body
Roman Graffiti