Zoe Fox

Zoe Fox

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details


  • BA Classical Languages, Bryn Mawr College, 2014
  • MA, Classics, University of California Los Angeles, 2016


I began my career in Classics as an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College, where I divided my time between my Classical Languages degree during the school year, and various archaeological excavations and research fellowships in Rome during the summer. This time in Rome, and especially my experience studying in the city for a semester, led me to my twin interests for the comparative urban development of Rome and the reception of Augustus during the Fascist period. I pursued the latter topic, along with the relationship between literature and monumental architecture, for my undergraduate thesis (entitled “Romanitas/Romanità: The Parallel Representations of Roman History in Augustan and Fascist Cultural Works”). After taking some time to focus on the Augustan period alone for my Master’s degree at UCLA, I have returned to Classical reception and comparative history for my PhD dissertation.

I currently live in Los Angeles, California. In addition to my PhD research, I work full-time as a middle and high school history teacher. I am passionate about inspiring a love of history in the next generation of students through progressive education and interdisciplinary learning.

Doctoral research

PhD title
"Free the trunk of the great oak from all that still spoils it": Demolition, Displacement, and Monumentality in Augustan and Fascist Rome
Professor Diana Spencer and Dr Lloyd Jenkins
Classics and Ancient History PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)


SupervisorsProfessor Diana SpencerDr Lloyd Jenkins, and Dr Kate Nichols

My dissertation is a comparative study of the processes of eviction and demolition for the sake of monumental building projects in Augustan and Fascist Rome. It considers how the social, political, and topographical issues in Rome that have recurred throughout history led to prejudice against certain marginalised Romans, and how these sentiments resulted in the targeting of neighbourhoods inhabited by these residents for demolition. It then investigates the processes by which these neighbourhoods were cleared out and demolished, and both the practical and abstract ways that process affected those who were forced out of their homes. At the conclusion of this investigation, I will analyse how the reception of the monumental spaces created in the footprint of these neighbourhoods was affected by the eviction and demolition that preceded them, and how the cultural memory of demolished buildings continues to affect the relationship between the city and its inhabitants.

My project operates through a series of case studies: I am focusing on the Subura and the Tiber banks in the Augustan period, and their corresponding early modern locations, Quartiere Alessandrino and Piazza Montanara, in the Fascist period.

In both time periods, I am interested in the blurring of the environmental, moral and practical justifications given for demolition, the processes of land acquisition and population displacement, and the popular reception of the ensuing construction projects. Major thematic issues I am focusing on include how "hygiene" was presented as the impetus for projects, the connection between the urban fabric and the perceptions of its inhabitants, and eviction/demolition as a method of physical and social control. I am also considering broader social issues inherent in the building programs of authoritarian leaders such as the disdain of those in power for local urban populations, and the privileging of public monuments over private domestic spaces.

Other activities

Conference Papers:

  • In Pursuit of Purity: the Recurrence of Demolition and Eviction in Central Rome during the Augustan and Fascist Periods. Classical Association Conference, Cambridge, England, April 22, 2023.
  • "Exhaustion, Despondency, Pain and Humiliation": The Recurrence of Demolition and Eviction in la Zona dei Fori Imperiali from the Augustan Principate to the Fascist Period. Institute of Classical Studies Postgraduate Work-in-Progress Seminar series; London, England, May 13, 2022.
  • Sampietrini and the Roman Experience: from Literature to Social Media. Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention; Baltimore, Maryland, March 10-13, 2022.
  • “Priva di aria e luce”: Prejudice, Perception, and Public Health in Roman Demolition Projects. University of Birmingham Department of Art History, Curating, and Visual Studies Research Lunch; Birmingham, England, November 24, 2021.
  • The Augustan Forum vs. the Subura: Demolition and Construction as Morality. California Classical Association-South Spring Meeting; online conference, April 24, 2021.
  • Augustan Construction on the Palatine and the Strategies of Roman Urban Demolition. University of Birmingham Classics, Ancient History, and Archaeology Postgraduate Research Seminar Series; online conference, April 22, 2021.
  • Luxuria or Munificentia? Augustus’ Calculated Demolition on the Palatine. Up and Down: Demolition and (re)Construction in the Roman City; online conference, September 13, 2020.
  • “Questo è nella tradizione di Roma”: Fascism, Antiquity, and Commemorations of the 1936 Ethiopian Victory. La Guerra e l’Italia: Italian Identities through War; UCLA, January 23-24, 2015.
  • Signis Receptis: Roman and Augustan Relations with Parthia. Hanna Holborn Gray Undergraduate Research Conference; Bryn Mawr College, September 28, 2012.

Research Grants and Activities

  • Recipient, Donald Atkinson Fund, The Roman Research Trust and Roman Society (Summer 2023)
  • Recipient, Turing Scheme grant (Summer 2022)
  • Field archaeologist, Grandi Scavi Sapienza sul Palatino: Pendici Meridionali, Rome, Italy (Summer 2022)
  • Field archaeologist, The Signum Vortumni Project, Rome, Italy (Summer 2019)
  • Field archaeologist, The Sant’Omobono Project Archaeological Excavation Rome, Italy (Summer 2013, Summer 2014) Recipient, Bryn Mawr College Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship, Bryn Mawr, PA & Rome, Italy (Summer 2012)
  • Field Archaeologist, The Gabii Project, Rome, Italy (Summer 2011)

Committee Memberships

  • Member, Classical Association of the Middle West and South: Graduate Student Issues Committee

Academia.edu profile