Department of Classical StudiesWestern Arts and Humanities

Kelly Olson

olson Associate Professor of Classics

BA (Calgary), MA (Victoria), PhD (Chicago)

Office: Lawson Hall 3227
Extension: 84525
Personal Website:

Areas of Interest:

Roman society and culture (social attitudes, women and the family, sexuality, and slavery, clothing); Roman art and architecture; Latin historiography. Publications include articles on costume, women, Roman art, and ancient society.

Research Interests:

Ancient history, more specifically Greek and Roman society and culture: social attitudes, social structure, women, the family, sexuality, and slavery, clothing and appearance; Greek and Roman art and architecture; Greek and Roman historiography; Sexuality and appearance in Western culture.

Teaching 2016-2017:

Distinctions and Awards (Selected):

  • 2012-2014 Teaching Fellow, School of Advanced Study in the Arts and Humanities (UWO)
  • 2011-2013 Faculty Scholar, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Univ. of Western Ontario
  • 2011 Academic Development Fund (for Greek Dress and Romanitas in Roman Antiquity)
  • 2008-2011 SSHRC Standard Research Grant (for Men, Appearance, and Sexuality in Roman Antiquity) 

Books Published (Selected):

  • Dress and the Roman Woman: Self-Presentation and Society (Routledge, 2008). 171 + xv pp. 

Books in Preparation:

  • Masculinity and Dress in Roman Antiquity (Ann Arbor) 


  • Masculinity, appearance, and sexuality: Roman dandies. Forthcoming 2014, Journal of the History of Sexuality.
  • Cosmetics in Roman antiquity: substance, remedy, poison. Classical World 103.2: 2009: 291-310.
  • Insignia lugentium: female mourning garments in Roman antiquity, in the American Journal of Ancient History 3-4 (2004-05). [2007]: 89-130.
  • "Roman underwear revisited." Classical World 96.2 [2003], 201-210.
  • "Matrona and whore: the clothing of Roman women" in Fashion Theory 6.4 (2002), 387-420.
  • Roman glass gaming pieces or jewel stones in Mouseion Series III vol. 1 (2001), 127-138. 

Book Chapters (Selected):

  • Greek dress in Roman antiquity: status, sexuality, identity chapter in Sex in Antiquity: New Essays on Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World (forthcoming, Routledge)
  • Roman marriage, chapter in A Companion to Ancient Sexuality (forthcoming, Wiley Blackwell)
  • Gender and sexuality, chapter in Themes in Roman Society (forthcoming, Oxford Univ. Press).
  • The appearance of the young Roman girl, in Roman Dress and the Fabric of Roman Culture, eds. J. Edmondson and A. Keith (Univ. of Toronto Press, 2008): 139-57.
  • Matrona and whore: clothing and definition," in Prostitutes and Courtesans in the Ancient World, eds. eds. C. Faraone and L. McClure (University of Wisconsin Press 2006), 186-204. 

Papers Read (Selected):

  • Classical Assoc. of Canada Lecturer, October 2012 (Western tour): Celluloid Cleopatras 1899-2005: Univ. of Winnipeg and Univ. of Manitoba, Oct 14
  • Clothing and Ritual in Roman Antiquity, Univ. of Calgary, Oct 16
  • Celluloid Cleopatras 1899-2005: Univ. of Alberta, Oct 22
  • Clothing and Ritual in Roman Antiquity, Univ. of British Columbia, Oct 26
  • Roman men in Greek clothing: class and sexuality, Univ. of Victoria, Oct 29
  • "Beware the Ill-Girt Boy: Tunics, Status, and Masculinity in Roman Antiquity," Dress and ID conference, Berlin, Germany, September 2012 (keynote address)
  • Luxury and Dress in Roman Male Clothing, Dress and ID Conference Study Group C: Dress and Gender, Berlin, Germany, September 2012
  • Roman and pre-modern dandies: sexuality and affect, The Reception of Rome and the Construction of Western Homosexual Identities conference, Durham UK, April 2012.
  • Greek dress in Roman antiquity, Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Frankfurt am-Main, Germany, March 2012
  • "Dandies, Effeminacy, and Masculinity in Roman Antiquity," Celtic Conference, panel on Addressing Dress, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2010 (invited lecture).
  • The Color of Masculinity in Roman Antiquity, Classical Association of Canada annual meeting, Quebec City Canada, May 2010.
  • Insignia lugentium: the Roman widow, University of Toronto, Department of Classics, October 28, 2005 (invited lecture) 

Service to the Discipline (Selected):

  • May 2012: invited respondent, panels on Adornment in the Bible and Antiquity, Canadian Society for Biblical Studies, Congress (Kitchener-Waterloo)
  • May 2012: Organizing chair of the Classical Association of Canada annual meeting (London, Ontario)
  • March 2012: Organizing chair of Philhellenism and the Romans 
    (panel at the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
  • May 2011: Organizing Chair of Justice on the Margins in the Ancient World workshop 
    (UWO; SSHRC funded, May 2011)
  • 2010-2013: Member, Classical Association of Canada Council
  • March 2010: Organizing Chair of Justice in the Ancient World conference 
    (UWO; awarded a SSHRC conference grant, 2010-11)
  • March 2010: Organizing Chair of Clothing, Clothing, and Gender in Roman Art. 
    Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference panel, Oxford UK