Hans Bork

Assistant Professor of Classics
Ph.D., UCLA, 2018
M.A., Washington University (St. Louis), 2011
B.A., Classics, UMass Amherst, 2009
B.A., English, UMass Amherst, 2009

I joined the Stanford Department of Classics in 2018, after completing my doctoral work at UCLA.  Here at Stanford, I am one of the core Latin faculty, and my research specialties concern Latin language and literature from often overlooked time-periods or genres: Archaic and Old Latin epigraphy; Latin comedy, especially Plautus; non-standard Latin of all periods; Late Latin and Proto-Romance. My other speciality areas include non-Latin Italic languages (e.g., Oscan, Umbrian, Etruscan), Historical and Comparative Linguistics (esp. Italic and PIE), Greek Dialectology, and the developments of Latin during Late Antiquity. 

I like to think of myself as a "Historian of Language" — someone who studies not just how languages change over time, but how they are used as they are, why that is so, and what social forces lead them to change. In terms of research, my current major project concerns insults and humor in Latin comedy. My monograph (Making Fun in Roman Comedy: Humor and Abuse) documents how insults and humor are both social phenomena, and argues that in Latin comedy insults can be understood only after considering  the sociolinguistic, performative, and historical aspects of a play in performance. 

More broadly, I am interested in the intersection of language and social identity, as well as jokes and humor in performance. I have several articles forthcoming or in print that deal with this topic from various perspectives. E.g.: on the "performance" of Latin inscriptions in comedy; on how local references in Plautus are evidence of a larger performance tradition; on the theoretical background of insult humor; and on the semantics of interjections in Latin comedy; and on the role of comic prayers in Plautus' comedies.  On the digital side of things, for several years I have collaborated with Stanford's CESTA group on a project mapping social networks and social relationships amongst Plautine characters. This is part of a larger plan I have to make aspects of Latin comedy—especially performance features—more accessible to non-specialists, through digital visualization and computer modeling.

More practically, I am also interested in Humanities pedagogy, and after joining the Stanford department developed a graduate-level pedagogy training course for students instructors. I have won several awards for my teaching, and am currently developing several new classes for the department centered around the reception of Classics in electronic media, especially video games and short-form video. (Teaching profile available here.)

Research Interest(s)
Research Subfields
Classical Reception
Digital Humanities
Greek Language
Latin Language
Latin Literature
Bldg. 110, Rm. 211
Office Hours
By appointment