Timothy Doran, Associate Professor of History

Professor Doran in Egypt, at Luxor.
College of Natural & Social Sciences
Department of History
Office Location: KH A4025
Email: tdoran2@calstatela.edu

Dr. Timothy Doran is Associate Professor of Ancient History and Big History. He is a classicist (scholar of Greco-Roman culture) specializing in Ancient Sparta. He has taught in many fields of Greek and Roman history, religion, philosophy, art, archaeology, and other aspects of material culture, and has taught language classes in ancient Greek and Latin.

At CSULA he teaches Greek, Roman, Ancient Near Eastern, and Egyptian history (history to be broadly construed as political, cultural, and social history) and ancient religions, as well as Big History, which is the history of everything from the Big Bang to the Heat Death of the Universe, drawing on astronomy, geology, biology, anthropology, demography, political science, and history. 

At the moment he is working on his second book, The Spartan Genos: Eugenics, Consanguinity, and Hereditarianism in Ancient Sparta. 


Classes taught

  • 1.) Upper-division advanced undergraduate courses:
  • Ancient Near East
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Greece (2700 BC - circa 371 BC)
  • Age of Alexander (Circa 371 BC - 30 BC)
  • Early Rome
  • Roman Empire
  • Greek and Roman Religions
  • Classical Civilization and the Modern World
  • Big History: from the Big Bang to the Heat Death of the Universe
  • Gender and Sex in World Religions 
  • 2.) Lower Division:
  • World History to 1500 AD
  • Ancient Greek language 1 and 2
  • Latin 1 and 2
  • 3.) Graduate seminars:
  • Methods, Sources, and Problems in the Study of Greek and Roman Civilizations
  • Ancient Mediterranean Religions
  • Sparta and Ancient Slavery
  • Ancient Mediterranean Economies
  • Big History, World History, and Ancient History

Education

Ph.D. University of California – Berkeley: Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology. 2011.

  • Major field: Ancient Greek History and Material Culture
  • Second field: Roman History
  • Third field: Phoenician Economy, Society, and Culture
  • Dissertation title: Demographic Fluctuation and Institutional Response in Sparta
  • Examiners: Emily Mackil, Erich Gruen, Kenneth Wachter, Walter Scheidel

M.A. University of California – Berkeley: Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology. 2006.

B.A. University of California – Berkeley: History (Concentration: Ancient). 2002. High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta.

  • Honors Thesis: Ethnos, Okhlos, and Eikones: The Anti-Jewish Riots in Alexandria, 38 A.D. and the Constitutive Power of Emperor Worship
  • Senior Thesis: Early Christianity and the Mystery Religions


 Selected publications:

  • Spartan Oliganthropia (Monograph). Brill Research Perspectives in Ancient History, 2018.
  • "Eugenic Ideology in the Hellenistic Spartan Reforms." Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 662017, 258-280.
  • "Nabis of Sparta: Heir to Agis IV and Kleomenes III?" Ancient History Bulletin 31, 2017, 70-91. 

Articles in Conflict in Ancient Greece and Rome: The Definitive Political, Social, and Military Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO. June 2016. Peer-reviewed (150 – 4500 words each):

  • Demography and Greek History
  • Achaean Revolt
  • Patrician-Plebeian Conflict (Main Article)
  • Patrician-Plebeian Conflict (Causes)
  • Patrician-Plebeian Conflict (Consequences)
  • Civil Conflict in the Late Republic
  • Hasdrubal
  • Germanic Wars (Main Narrative)
  • Germanic Wars (Causes)
  • Germanic Wars (Consequences)
  • Acrotatus
  • Agis III
  • Thebes’ Invasion of the Peloponnese
  • First Peloponnesian War
  • Lysander,
  • Mithridates VI Eupator
  • Astyochus
  • The King’s Peace
  • Agesilaus II
  • Agesipolis I
  • Boeotian League
  • Epaminondas
  • Battle of Mantinea
  • Pausanias Son of Cleombrotus
  • Peloponnesian League
  • Sparta’s Campaign against Olynthus
  • Battle of Sellasia

Review Articles in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (ca. 2000 words each):

  • Myth, text, and history at Sparta by Thomas Figueira (ed.). Gorgias studies in classical and late antiquity, 18. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.05.16
  • The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge. The Yale Library of Military History by Paul Rahe. Yale University Press. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2016.12.13.
  • Die Wirtschaft Spartas by Lukas Thommen. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.09.29
  • Cyrene to Chaeronea: Selected Essays on Ancient Greek History by George Cawkwell. Oxford University Press. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2013.01.19
  • Demography and the Graeco-Roman World: new insights and approaches by Claire Holleran and April Pudsey. Cambridge University Press. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.7.49
  • Thucydidean Narrative & Discourse by Mabel Lang. Michigan Classical Press. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.01.45

Short Reviews in Choice, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and a division of the American Library Association:

  • Duane Roller, Cleopatra’s Daughter and other royal women of the Augustan era. Oxford, 2018. Choice, November 2018 Vol. 56 No. 3.
  • Josephine Crawley Quinn, In Search of the Phoenicians. Princeton, 2018. Choice,August 2018, Vol. 55 no. 12.
  • H. C. Teitler, The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War Against Christianity. Oxford, 2017. Choice, November 2017, Vol. 55 no. 3.
  • Dickenson, Christopher P. On the agora: the evolution of public space in Hellenistic and Roman Greece (c. 323 BC-267 AD). Mnemosyne Supplements: History and Archaeology of Classical Antiquity, 398.Choice, July 2017, Vol. 53 no. 11.
  • Marek, Christian. In the Land of a Thousand Gods: A History of Asia Minor in the Ancient World. Princeton, 2016. Choice, April 2017, Vol. 54 no. 8.
  • Josette Elayi, Sargon II; King of Assyria. Archaeology and Biblical Studies 22. Society of Biblical Literature, 2017. Choice, February 2018, Vol. 55 no. 6.
  • De Giorgi, Andrea. Ancient Antioch: from the Seleucid Era to the Islamic Conquest. Cambridge, 2016. Choice, December 2016, Vol. 54 no. 4.
  • Venit, Marjorie. Visualizing the Afterlife in the Tombs of Graeco-Roman Egypt. Cambridge, 2015. Choice, September 2016, Vol. 54 no. 1.

Research Interests

  • Greek, Roman, and Ancient Near Eastern history (political, cultural, and social) and historiography, especially Sparta.
  • Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern literature.
  • Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern religion.
  • Demography.
  • Selectionist/Darwinian modes of cultural transmission.
  • Sociobiological and evolutionary-psychological study of religion, state formation, and human behavior.
  • Comparative eugenic ideologies.
  • Comparative pre-modern religious development.
  • Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean.
  • Proto-Indo-European linguistics, culture, and archaeology.
  • Big History.

Archaeological Experience

- Summer 2005: Tel Dor, Israel. Vase-fragment classification, digging.


Peer Review Work

Anonymous peer review for Evolutionary Psychology; Yale University Press; Oxford University Press; Routledge; The Journal of Big History


Selected Presentations at Professional Meetings and Conferences

  • "Who's Afraid of Spartan Eugenics?" UCLA History Department, April 9, 2019
  • "Tyrtaios and the Spartan Genos," Friends of Ancient History conference at Cal State Long Beach, April 6, 2019
  • “Population Politics and Spartan Imperialism” for “Popular Politics and Ancient Warfare” panel chaired by Michael Taylor, Society for Classical Studies conference in San Francisco, January 2016
  • Respondent to Christopher Kegerreis’ paper “Xenophon at Mieza,” Friends of Ancient History conference at California State University, Riverside on November 15, 2014
  • “Leveraging a Liberal Arts Education for Social Workers in Pursuit of Social and Economic Equality: How Ancient Sparta Speaks to Social Workers Today,” Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development in Melbourne, Australia, July 12, 2014
  • “Representations and Realities in Ancient Sparta,” Friends of Ancient History conferenceat UC Riverside May 4, 2013 (Larry Tritle, respondent)
  • “Christian Reproduction and Paternity from Paul to Augustine,” Paternity in the Ancient Worldconference at UCLA, October 7-8, 2008

Biographical Information

Timothy Doran is the third Los Angeles-based Professor Doran in his family. His father was Matt H. Doran, the first person to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from USC, and who was a professor of musical composition, theory, and harmony at Mount Saint Mary's College in Los Angeles. His grandfather was Edmund Doran, professor of speech, rhetoric, and debate at Los Angeles City College.

Dr. Doran is married. He and his wife have two children. They own a house in East Los Angeles and a cabin near Lake Arrowhead where they spend some weekends. In terms of church attendance, spiritualism, and religion, he was raised Catholic and broadly tends toward humanism and philosophical/scientific naturalism, and is a Unitarian Universalist with interest in the revival of ancient religious rites, particularly esoteric ones from the Ancient Mediterranean and Ancient Near East. 

Doran worked for years after high school in a natural foods grocery store in San Francisco. He attended City College of San Francisco, then transferred to UC Berkeley where he majored in History, with a concentration on ancient history, and also studied languages: Latin and Ancient Greek. He was then accepted into Berkeley's notoriously rigorous Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology. His specialty became Sparta, although he received a broad and full training in everything Greek and Roman including history, historiography, archaeology, art (especially sculpture), demography, ethnicity, poetic meter, a great deal of tragedy, comedy, elegy, iambus, lyric, biography, epistolary works, and every other form of ancient literature. He was a graduate student instructor for Greek Mythology, Greek Religion, and several other classes, and taught Latin; and he even co-taught a class on Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean at San Quentin State Prison as a graduate student. He then received the PhD, being examined in ancient Greek history; ancient Greek art; Phoenician Economy, Society, and Culture; ancient demography; and Roman history, and writing his dissertation on the causes and effects of the population crisis in ancient Sparta. 

After this he taught ancient history at Berkeley as a lecturer for one year, including classes of his own devising such as a seminar on Sparta, and immediately was hired for a full-time tenure-track position at Cal State L.A in 2012 where he has taught an immense variety of classes, primarily in Ancient History and Religious Studies, and has brought new courses to campus, including the very popular Big History (which fills two sections each semester) as well as History of Greek and Roman Religions.

His favorite students tend to be the ones who are deeply intellectually curious -- who think that the world is a genuinely interesting and wonderfully strange place, and that they are lucky to be alive -- and who work hard, including trying to strengthen areas of inexperience such as improving their writing, and are civil and amusing. He has had many such students at CSULA, and takes pleasure in watching his students grow intellectually.

His hobby is vintage collecting, mostly 1900-1950, including vintage clothing, antique furniture, old lamps, old books, and so on. His house has been described as museum-like, and is full of antique telephones, strange artifacts, Phoenician masks, genuine Roman era pot-handles, reproduction ancient Egyptian statuary, books on phrenology, treatises on religion and the occult, and other odd and old things. Over the years, he has collected some 200+ neckties primarily from the 1930s and 1940s and many vintage suits, mostly from that period.

He enjoys travel and has been to Poland, Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Finland, England, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Jamaica, and Canada.

His favorite places in Los Angeles include the Getty Villa, the Huntington, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the El Cid, and the Institute for the Scientific Study of Human and Non-Human Phenomena. He is always hunting for restaurants, cafes, theaters, and bars with character and remarkable, visually interesting settings, and that are very old, very interesting, and not very expensive; cafes with gardens where one can sit and read are a great favorite. He welcomes recommendations for such places. 


Other Relevant Experience

  • Huntington Library Reader, 2019.
  • American School of Classical Studies, Athens: Member, Summer 2016, including research tour of historical and archaeological sites in Greece (6-week intensive program)
  • American School of Classical Studies, Athens: Visiting Student Associate Member, Summer 2010
  • Humanities West, San Francisco: Content expert and discussion moderator for teachers at programs on Periclean Athens (2008) and the Hellenistic period (2010)

  • Aleshire Center for Greek Epigraphy: Student Representative for 2005-7

  • Center for Tebtunis Papyri: Summer 2002

  • Research Assistant: 2003-2005 (for Robert N. Bellah’s book Religion in Human Evolution, published Fall 2011)
  • Archaeological Excavation and Pottery Classifier, Tel Dor, Israel: Summer 2005 (for Andrew Stewart and Ayelet Gilboa)

Selected Community Lectures

  • “Spartan Oliganthropia.” Book Talk/Library discussion with Stan Burstein: Cal State Los Angeles, February 14, 2019.
  • “Titus and the Flavian Dynasty.” Los Angeles Opera, Spring 2019.
  • “The Spartan Population Crisis, and Why This Should Matter to Us Now.” Greater Los Angeles MENSA Meeting, February 19, 2017.
  • “Secret Societies and Fraternities in the Ancient World,” Masonic conference, Shrine Auditorium, Fall 2016.
  • The Ancient Roots of Patriarchy and Limitations on Female Roles: A Demographic View.” Greater Los Angeles MENSA Meeting, February 18, 2018.

 

 

 

Additional Website: