Univ.-Ass. Dr. Grace Stafford

E: grace.stafford@univie.ac.at

Eintrag im Personalverzeichnis: u:find

Research Focuses

My research focuses on gender and religion in Late Antiquity. The primary aim of my research is to use material and visual culture to improve our understanding of women’s lives, and especially their experiences of early Christianity. I am also interested in how we can use modern sociology and anthropology to better understand the ancient and medieval worlds.

My doctorate examined the representation of contemporary late antique women in visual culture as a source for social history, while my publications to date have explored pilgrimage, dress, and portraiture. The research I am undertaking in Vienna will concern the material evidence for early women’s monasticism.

Curriculum Vitae

2009 – 2012: BA Classical Studies, Royal Holloway University of London (First Class Honours)

2012 – 2013: MPhil Applied Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge

2015 – 2017: MPhil Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford

2017 – 2021: DPhil Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford

Thesis: ‘Women, Gender, and Society in Late Antiquity: A Study in Visual Culture’

Feb – Apr 2021: Research Assistant, University of Oxford

Apr – Jul 2021: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut

2022 – 2023: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of History, University of Warsaw

2023: Tutorial Assistant and Casual Lecturer, University of Oxford

Since November 2023: University Assistant (Postdoc), Institute for Classical Archaeology, University of Vienna

Scientific Focus Areas

  • Women and gender in Late Antiquity
  • Material lived religion
  • Early Christian pilgrimage
  • Monasticism
  • Late antique portraiture

Research Projects

Feb – Apr 2021: (Research Assistant) ‘Buried Practices: Material Religion and Daily Life in Late Antique Aphrodisias (4th – 7th centuries)’, University of Oxford, PI Dr Ine Jacobs

2022 – 2023: (PI) ‘Sacred Journeys, Sacred Lifestyles: Gender, Monasticism, and Pilgrimage in the Late Antique East’, Centre for Research on Ancient Civilisations, Faculty of History, University of Warsaw

Selected Prizes and Awards

2023: Juliana-Anicia-Preis for outstanding doctoral thesis in late antique archaeology and Byzantine art history, Verein Spätantike Archäologie und Byzantinische Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

2018 – 2020:
Jacob Ghazarian Studentship, Wolfson College, University of Oxford

List of Publications


  • (In preparation) Stafford, G. Women and Society in Late Antiquity: Visual Culture in Context.

Journal articles

  • Stafford, G. (forthcoming). Veiling and Head-covering in Late Antiquity: Between Ideology, Aesthetics, and Practicality. Past & Present, due to appear Spring 2024
  • Stafford, G. (2022). Between the Living and the Dead: Use, Reuse, and Imitation of Painted Portraits in Late Antiquity. Journal of Roman Archaeology 35.2, pp.683-712.
  • Stafford, G. (2019). Early Christian Female Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Saint Menas, Saint Simeon the Elder, and Saint Thecla. Studies in Late Antiquity 3.2, pp.251-293.

Book chapters

  • Stafford, G. (2022). Privilege, Pleasure, Performance: Reading Female Nudity in Late Antique Art. In: M. Steward, C. Whately and D. Parnell eds., Routledge Handbook of Identity in Byzantium. London: Routledge, pp.333-362.
  • Stafford, G. (2019). Evidence for Female Pilgrims at Abu Mina. In: M. Ivanova and H. Jeffrey eds., Transmitting and Circulating the Late Antique and Byzantine Worlds. Leiden: Brill, pp.11-43.

Conference Organisation

2023 – 2024: ‘Understanding Ancient Women: New Approaches from Material Texts’ (Co-organiser with Dr Karolina Frank, Warsaw). Series of three collaborative workshops online and in person for graduate students and early career researchers.

2019: ‘Thanks for Typing: Wives, Daughters, Mothers, and Other Women Behind Famous Men’ (Co-organiser with Dr Juliana Dresvina, Oxford), University of Oxford

Archaeological Fieldwork

2019 – 2023: Halaesa Archaeological Project (Sicily), University of Oxford and University of Messina