Mr Peter Olive

Supervised by

  • Nick Lowe First/primary/lead supervisor

    1/10/14 → …

Personal profile

I am a language instructor and prize-winning researcher. Currently I am completing an intellectual history of the incest taboo in archaic and classical Greece. 

Greek ideas about the incest taboo have served as the keystone for all sorts of theoretical models: Freud’s Oedipus Complex is well-known; Lévi-Strauss finds in Plutarch an idea that seems to anticipate structuralist alliance theory; more recently, Judith Butler has tried to undermine these and other theorists with a subversive reading of Antigone. To date however, no monograph on the incest taboo's ancient intellectual history exists. My thesis returns to antiquity to reveal a history of thought only excerpted by the theorists, enabling scholars from multiple disciplines to question the validation that theorists have sought in the texts of antiquity. By ordering the ancient discourse into different and opposed schools of thought, replacing the essentialist notion of ‘Greek thought’ on this subject with an organised map of its true disunity, my thesis will present a challenge to the use and abuse of Greek ideas as ‘cultural capital’.

I read Classics (Lit. hum.) at Wadham College, Oxford, before going into teaching. I later returned to study, writing an MPhil thesis at Royal Holloway which won the George Grote Prize. In 2020 I returned to Oxford for my DPhil, this time at St. Catherine's. I have published in journals including Arethusa, Classical Receptions Journal, Journal of Classics Teaching, and Didaskalia.


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