Ertegun Staff and Scholar Profiles

Ursula Westwood

South African
Current course: 
MPhil in Greek and/ or Roman History

I graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BA in Classical Studies and French in 2014, and completed the work for my Honours in Latin Language and Literature a few weeks before coming to Oxford in 2015. My studies up to this point have been extremely varied, covering both Greek and Latin historiography, as well as a good deal of poetry, drama and philosophy.

However, my own research interests focus on the relationship between Rome and her Jewish subjects in the first century CE – in particular through the work of the historian Flavius Josephus, who stands at the intersection of Roman and Jewish history, and as such provides a fascinating insight into the interactions (religious, cultural and social) between people of widely divergent world-views. At Oxford, I will be reading for a Master of Philosophy in Greek and/or Roman history, working on Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum with an emphasis on its composition context and questions of audience, under the supervision of Professor Martin Goodman.

It is a huge privilege to be able to do this as part of the Ertegun House community, with access not only to the wonderful facilities the physical space provides, but also the opportunity to engage with other scholars who have different perspectives and interests. I have no doubt that this stimulating environment will be extremely valuable to my academic growth.

When not poring over ancient texts, I spend time reading fiction, baking, and going for walks in the University Parks near my college.