Anna Foka is an Associate Senior Lecturer at HUMlab, Umeå University, Sweden. She defended her PhD thesis in ancient Greek comedy and the construction of Greek identity in extant texts and fragments (Liverpool 2010). She holds an MA in Classics and Ancient History (Liverpool 2006), and a 4-year MA degree in Theatre and Performance Studies (NCU Athens 2003). Prior to her current position, she held a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS) in collaboration with the school of Histories and Cultures (Umeå University). She has previously held lecturing positions in several institutions in the UK (Manchester and Liverpool University).
Her broad research interests include cultural and social history, history for different frames, constructions and perceptions of socio- cultural identities, historical concepts of gender and sexuality, and the relationship between historical culture(s) and contemporaneity. She has published in the fields of gender and humour in Graeco-Roman culture, the reception of antiquity in popular culture, and methodologies for digital history including the study of visualisations, gamification and creative environments.
Anna Foka is the co-founder (alongside Viktor Arvidsson) of the international research network Digital Gender that is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. She is also a member of the Digital Classicist community, actively involved in the Digital Classicist Wiki Sprint (2014- beyond) and undertaking several tasks including correcting web pages, suggesting new projects, adding pages to the Wiki, helping others with information and background, approaching project leaders to suggest adding or improving information. Anna is also a member of the Umeå Group for Premodern Studies, organizing the group’s outreach activities for 2014, including public talks in the context of Umeå as a European capital of culture.
For her current project, Digital Bread and Circuses (part of 2013-2017) Anna Foka is constructing conceptual digital prototypes of the Roman amphitheatre and Greek theatre. The proposed prototypes aim to challenge our understanding of the Roman amphitheatre (and consequentially other ancient entertainment sites such as the Greek theatre, Circuses and Hippodromes) and as (presently) epistemologically embedded in textual and oculocentric traditions in research and popular culture representations. It is an in-depth investigation of the manners in which historical and cultural reproductions, are shaped by and correspond to the audiences’ digital aesthetic expectations and own historical culture(s). Prototypes target the sites’ comprehensive materiality, multisensory sensibility, and aim to go beyond already shaped assumptions about gender, hierarchies, and entertainment in antiquity.