Theodora Hadjimichael

Colleges, School and Institutes


I come from ancient Kition in Cyprus, the town that is nowadays called Larnaca, and studied Greek Philology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece (major: Classical Philology), before moving to the UK to complete an MA and PhD in Classics at University College London. After the completion of my PhD I held research and teaching posts in diverse academic environments: I was visiting lecturer for Modern Greek at Middlesex University (2012), short-term postdoctoral fellow at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands (2012), adjunct lecturer at the Open University of Cyprus (2012-14), postdoctoral fellow at LMU Munich in Germany (2013-17) with a fellowship that was funded by the DFG Exzellenzinitiative, WIRL Marie-Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Fellow at the University of Warwick UK (2017-19), and Teaching Fellow in Greek at the University of Edinburgh (2019-20). I joined the University of Birmingham in September 2020.

I also spent time in the USA with a Margo Tytus summer fellowship at the University of Cincinnati (2012), I received a visiting grant from the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC (2015) and a visiting fellowship from LMUExcellent for a research stay at UC Berkeley (2016). I am fellow of the Advanced Seminar in the Humanities at Venice International University (VIU) and of the Fondation Hardt in Geneva, Switzerland, and was also  a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford (MT 2018) and at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh (June 2019), where I held a Nominated Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH).

Tip on how to pronounce my surname: My surname is Greek is Χατζημιχαήλ and the pronunciation is actually Hajimihail; imagine the combination of the following three words: haji - miha - eel. That is how it would be pronounced in Cyprus. 

Research interests

My research to date has focused on Greek Lyric poetry and its reception and transmission in antiquity, but my research interests are broad and involve ancient literary and cultural history, Plato and the Peripatos as source of cultural and intellectual history, as well as ancient scholarship. I am also interested in the aesthetics and psychology of music and dance in antiquity, as those were perceived by poets and theorised by philosophers. 

My first monograph The Emergence of the Lyric Canon (2019 Oxford: Oxford University Press UK) explores the complexities of the process of canonisation of lyric poetry by offering both synchronic and diachronic views of the survival and transmission of small-scale poetry in antiquity. The Emergence of the Lyic Canon is the first book that creates a whole and comprehensive narrative on the transmission and canonisation of Greek lyric in late classical and Hellenistic times, and it therefore fills in an important gap in scholarship. It conclusively demonstrates that the canonising process of the lyric poets was already at work from the fifth century BC, and is reflected both on the evaluation of lyric by fourth-century thinkers and on the activities of the Hellenistic scholars in the Alexandrian Library.  

My current research focuses on the reception and critique of sixth- and fifth-century lyric poetry in Plato. The project sits at the interchange of Classics and Philosophy, while it also touches on questions of ancient literary and cultural criticism, aesthetics, psychology, and musicology. One of the aims is to analyse how Plato reappropriates lyric poetry, lyric genres, and also lyric features -song, music, rhythm, and dance- in his dialogues and how he conceptualises the value of lyric activities in his aesthetics and in his moral criticism. Another aim is to examine Plato's influence on ancient perceptions of lyric and more broadly to demonstrate the importance of the fourth century BC in the reception of sixth- and fifth-century lyric poetry in antiquity.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I am keen to supervise postgraduate students who wish to work on topics related to Greek literature (across all genres) and Greek cultural history, including the interaction of poetry with philosophy (Plato), and interdisciplinary approaches to literature.