Pitzer College Classics Professor Michelle L. Berenfeld Wins 2017-18 Rome Prize

Claremont, Calif. (April 27, 2017)—Pitzer College Professor Michelle L. Berenfeld has been awarded a 2017-18 Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome  (AAR) to research elite urban neighborhoods during the late Roman Empire.

Berenfeld, who is the John A. McCarthy Associate Professor of Classics at Pitzer, won the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman/National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Rome Prize in Ancient Studies for her book project At Home in the City: The Neighborhoods of the Urban Elite in the Late Roman Empire.

At Home in the City examines elite urban neighborhoods during the late Roman Empire (approximately the third to sixth centuries CE), a period of profound political, social and religious change. Berenfeld’s research focuses on relationships between the urban houses of late Roman upper classes, their interaction with public spaces, and changes in those relationships over time. Combining archaeological evidence from Rome and select provincial cities with texts produced in and about those cities, Berenfeld will explore how the rise of Christianity intersected with developments related to class and elite power during this dynamic period.

Starting in September, Berenfeld will live and work for six months with other Rome Prize winners at the AAR campus in Italy’s capital.

“The Rome Prize is an extraordinary opportunity to be part of a community that includes not only other scholars of the ancient world, but also artists, writers, architects and designers,” Berenfeld said. “I look forward to learning from and collaborating with the other fellows and taking my work in new directions.”

Berenfeld also received a 2017 Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars from the American Council of Learned Societies that will allow her to continue her residency at the Academy through December 2018.

Michelle L. Berenfeld has been teaching classical archaeology at Pitzer since 2010. Her research interests include urbanism in the later Roman Empire, particularly in the provinces of the eastern Mediterranean; domestic space; and social life. Her courses range from surveys in Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology to seminars on the Roman Empire in the East and International Cultural Heritage. Berenfeld earned both her MA and PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

For over a century, the American Academy in Rome has awarded the Rome Prize to artists and scholars representing some of the most talented minds in the United States and Italy, according to the Academy’s website. Rome Prize Fellowships include a stipend, room and board, and individual work space at the Academy’s 11-acre campus in Rome. AAR Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows have access to all Academy resources and a network of advisers, while living among the renowned artists and scholars in residence at the Academy throughout the year.

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Page last updated on April 27, 2017