Dr Samuel Agbamu

Personal profile

My research focuses on Latin literature and its reception. I am especially interested in constructions of the classical tradition and their roles within projects of nationalism, imperialism, and in ideologies of 'race'. 

My Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship is on the afterlives of Petrarch's neo-Latin epic, the Africa. This project will be the first full study of the reception of this neglected early Renaissance poem, illuminating its role in transmitting ancient ideas about the continent of Africa into the early modern and modern era. I will examine four key episodes from the epic that exemplify Petrarch’s reshaping of classical models centred on Africa and Africans. Thinking about this epic through a Premodern Critical Race Studies lens, I will explore how these episodes influenced the development of colonial and racist attitudes in Europe by looking at significant moments of the epic’s reception history.

I am also currently writing a monograph, based on my PhD thesis, on modern Italy's use of the history of Roman imperialism in Africa, during its own imperial endeavours on the continent in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Further research interests include anti-racist and anti-colonial approaches to the literatures and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, and their receptions. 

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