Alan van den Arend

ALI Postdoctoral Associate


I am a classicist and historian who studies receptions of antiquity in late medieval and early modern Europe, especially Italy. My current project considers the importance of perceptions and emotions for understanding antiquity's socio-cultural significance in Italy's long fifteenth century (c. 1350-1550). Using methods from across the humanities and social sciences, my work engages aesthetics, philology, archaeology, gender, and book history to argue for feeling's fraught but foundational role in premodern thought.

I completed my Ph.D. in History at Johns Hopkins in 2022. My dissertation, Feeling Ancient: Pasts Present in the Quattrocento, offered historical and theoretical arguments for feeling-as-thought in premodernity, explored via case studies of Petrarch, Ciriaco d'Ancona, Angelo Poliziano, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Girolamo Savonarola, and the Aldine Hypnerotomachia Poliphili [1499]. Prior to Hopkins, I received an M.A. in Classics at the University of Kentucky (2017) along with graduate certificates from the Institutum Studiis Latinis Provehendis and the Committee on Social Theory.

I began my career as a high school Latin and Ancient Greek teacher in suburban New Jersey, where I was recognized by students for my innovative and engaging instruction, including active Latin strategies. I am particularly interested in topics related to applied second-language acquisition (SLA), emotion and learning, inclusive classrooms, and mentoring FLI-URM student populations. I am also invested in opportunities for collaboration between K-12, post-secondary, and community educational contexts; I always welcome messages from potential outreach/impact partners.

I enjoy collaborating with others to pursue positive, community-driven change and investment at the departmental, divisional, and university levels. Past projects include service on a vice-provost's graduate student advisory committee, employment with a center for teaching excellence and innovation, a part-time position in a dean's office for undergraduate curriculum, and a wide range of union advocacy and lobbying initiatives. In every context, I believe that the trust built by democratic consensus through shared governance is essential for institutional success.

About ALI

As ALI Associate, I collaborate with faculty and instructors in Classics to help them deliver courses that are engaging, inclusive, and accessible to our undergraduate students. For more information about the program, see the Active Learning Initiative website

For examples of ALI's impact on Classics courses, see:

Student feedback is essential to achieving ALI's objectives. If you are a student at Cornell and would like to offer your perspective on our Classics courses, please feel free to contact me.