Lidewij van Gils is Assistant Professor of Latin, previously employed at the Vrije Universiteit, and since 2020 at the University of Amsterdam. She develops and teaches courses on the Latin Language and Culture and actively participates in interdisciplinary education in the bachelor and master programmes of the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). You can contact her for supervision of theses at bachelor, master and PhD level on literary, linguistic or didactic topics. She is also leading a national programme in the Didactics of Classics (Meesterschap) and as such initiates and supports research and outreach activities in this field (see also OIKOS Platform Learning & Teaching).
After her studies of Classics at the Vrije Universiteit she obtained her PhD at the same university in 2009 with a dissertation on the narrationes in Cicero’s forensic speeches. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2004 and she has combined her studies as a graduate student and as a PhD student with teaching (Latin and Greek in secondary education, Latin Literature and Linguistics at various Dutch universities and Italian at the Società Dante Alighieri). Together with other Ciceronian scholars she publishes regularly on Cicero´s life, rhetoric and speeches for a wide audience. Her academic research is mainly focused on communicative strategies in classical Latin prose authors, for which she makes use of pragmatics, politeness theories and cognitive linguistics. As an expert in linguistic approaches to classical languages, she is involved in the award winning research programme Anchoring Innovation. In 2017 she was elected Teacher of the Year at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where she has been assistant professor from 2010 to 2020.
In her research, Van Gils focuses on (1) the use of the Latin language in classical prose and (2) effective teaching of Classical languages and cultures.
The first focus places her work in the field of rhetoric and discourse-pragmatic approaches to language combined with insights from adjacent fields like narratology, cognitive linguistics and sociolinguistics. The University of Amsterdam has a strong tradition on precisely these interconnected fields which is why she has initiated together with Irene de Jong and Caroline Kroon a Research Lab of Greek and Latin scholars with frequent online meetings, currently organized by Merlijn Breunesse and Luuk Huitink. A PhD-project on Late Antique citizenship discourses by Merel de Bruin is supervised by Lidewij van Gils together with Els Rose (promotor). The combined narratological and discourse-pragmatic approach to ancient Greek and Latin prose has recently led to a volume on Textual Strategies in Greek and Latin war narrative (2018, edited by Van Gils, De Jong & Kroon).
For the project Anchoring Innovation Van Gils studies common ground management in Cicero’s epistolary corpus. The concept of common ground has brought together a number of Latin linguists in an international workshop on Communicative Anchoring in Latin, organized by Chiara Fedriani, Lidewij van Gils, Federica Iurescia, Caroline Kroon and Luis Unceta during the International Colloquium of Latin Linguistics (2019 in Las Palmas) of which the Proceedings are due in 2021. Together with Chiara Fedriani Lidewij van Gils investigates dialogical elements in Cicero’s letters as part of the project Conversation Analysis and Classics led by Rodrigo Verano.
The second research focus is on Didactics of Classical Languages and Cultures. Research topics include inclusivity of the curriculum (Conference Shared Antiquity), active Latin and Greek, translating in the classroom (postgraduate education), interdisciplinary didactics and transferable skills in humanities. The complex didactics of interdisciplinary education at secondary school is the topic of a PhD-project by Sandra Karten, supervised by Lidewij van Gils and Casper de Jonge.