Barbara Vinck

Graduate Student


  • Wonder and travel writing
  • Spectacle in Late Republican and Imperial Latin literature
  • Greek historiography
  • Reception

Barbara Vinck received her B.A. and first M.A. in English and Latin from Ghent University (Belgium) where she worked mainly on the Renaissance reception of classical literature. In 2011, she received a Belgian American Education Foundation and Francqui Foundation fellowship for an M.A. in Classics at Columbia University. She taught TOEFL and IELTS preparation courses in China before returning to Columbia for her Ph.D. in 2013.

For the past year at Columbia, Barbara has been working on the idea of wonder in De Aetna, a late fifteenth century text by the Renaissance scholar Pietro Bembo. She examined the question of how wonder interacts with scientific or philosophic explanation, contemporary exploration and political events, and empiric experience. This has lead to her current research interest in wonder in Herodotus.

Barbara has been a Teaching Assistant for the Greek 1202 (Homer’s Odyssey) course, and for Intermediate Latin (Catullus and Cicero). In 2015-2016 she was a full-time instructor teaching Elementary Latin I and II. In 2016-2017 Barbara is teaching Intermediate Latin I in the Fall, and Elementary Greek I in the Spring.

Barbara also happily participates in many activities that Columbia University offers. She currently serves as the rapporteur for the Seminar in the Renaissance, and from Fall 2013 to Spring 2016, she co-organized the Classics Colloquium series. She also served as graduate student representative and website manager for the Classics department. In 2014 and 2016 she performed in the Ancient Greek productions of Choephoroi and Trachiniae by the Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group. Not wanting to stay idle during the Summer, Barbara joined the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean’s trip to Israel and Jordan in 2014, and was a student at the Paideia Institute’s Living Greek in Greece program in 2015. In 2016 she returned to Greece, this time as an instructor. 

In her spare time, Barbara explores the city, works her way through best-of lists of novels, and helps children improve their literacy skills through Latin at one of Paideia’s Aequora outreach sites.