Joe Jansen | Assistant Professor
Office: 404 Halliburton | Phone: (901) 843-3764 | Email:



I received a Ph.D. is in Classics, so I do most of my teaching in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies, where I offer a variety of Greek and Latin language courses.  I also teach in the Search Program, which is a nice fit since many of the texts we read in the course help further my research and, let’s be honest, are the most important and influential texts ever written!  Teaching in the History Department is a real treat for me because history is my first love and the main focus of my research agenda.  Currently, I offer two courses: 1) an introductory survey of the ancient Mediterranean, which begins with the first city-states of Mesopotamia and ends with the birth of the Middle Ages; and a seminar on the Golden Age of Athens called “The Rise and Fall of Athens.”   In these courses, I stress the importance of learning the historian’s craft, especially how to read and interpret primary source documents, such as biographies, inscriptions, and even coins.   Moreover, I encourage students to make ancient history come alive by making valuable connections between past and present.  In the future, I hope to expand my offerings to include special topics seminars on the Athenian democracy and the ancient economy.


My research focuses on the political and economic history of Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.  I have two main projects right now.  The first is a book manuscript to be published with Anthem Press next year entitled: Xenophon’s Poroi and the Reinvention of Athenian Political Economy.  In it I argue that the Poroi  (Ways and Means-354BCE) is a unique work of political economy that illustrates the ways in which the Athenians can have both a just and dynamic economy without resorting to imperial forms of wealth extraction, which at the time were the primary means of meeting civic expenses and financing their social welfare system.  Specifically, I contend that Xenophon challenges the parasitic, consumer-based orientation of Athens’ imperial economy by proposing practical but bold measures meant to transform Athens into a productive center of silver mining, manufacture, and free commercial exchange.  The second project concerns the Athenian empire, particularly the economic forms of exploitation it developed over time as a way not only to create wealth but also to dominate its subjects.

What I do for fun

When I am not enjoying spending time with my family, I play the guitar, listen to music (everything from the Beach Boys to Metallica), get frustrated on the golf course, cook, and bleed Green and Gold: yes, I am from Wisconsin, and thus any vehement denials of the Green Packers’ status as “America’s team” will end badly for you.


Prof. Jansen completed his PhD at UT-Austin. He wrote his dissertation about Xenophon′s political and economic thought.

  • Greek 101 - ELEMENTARY GREEK
  • Humanities 101 - SEARCH:VALUES IN HIST & RELIG
  • Humanities 101 - SEARCH:VALUES IN HST&REL
  • Humanities 102 - SEARCH:VALUES IN HIST & RELIG
  • Humanities 102 - SEARCH:VALUES IN HST&REL