Skip Navigation
Return to All Schools

Nancy H. and Robert E. Hall Professorship in the Humanities

Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Established in 2005 by Nancy and Robert Hall

ROBERT E. HALL, Engr. 1955, spent 28 years as a senior officer at Brown Capital Management LLC and 18 years as an analyst at T. Rowe Price.  His interest in and support of the humanities was shared by his wife, NANCY H. HALL, an avid art lover as well as a longtime docent and trustee of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

The Halls made a lifelong commitment to promoting the mission of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and specifically the humanities. Their philanthropy for scholarship and teaching in the arts and humanities at Hopkins extended to the Sheridan Libraries and the Peabody Institute, and for research, at the School of Medicine. Mr. Hall also served as a trustee of the Peabody Institute from 1981 to 1986, a member of the advisory board for the Krieger School, and a member of the Sheridan Libraries advisory board.  After her death in 2015, Mr. Hall endowed the Nancy H. Hall Curatorship of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Sheridan Libraries in memory of his wife.

Robert E. Hall died in 2019. They have two sons, Christopher Hall and Benton H. Hall, and a daughter, Selby H. Hall.


Held by Shane Butler

SHANE BUTLER, Ph.D., is the Nancy H. and Robert E. Hall Professor in the Humanities, a Professor of Classics, and the Director of the Classics Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

His research can be divided into several general categories: Latin Literature, from Antiquity through Early Modernity; Classical Reception and the History of Classical Scholarship; Sensation and Cognition; Aesthetics; Queer Theory and History; and Media Theory and History, including the History of the Book.

Broadly speaking, his work regards the relationship between embodied experience and art, particularly literature. His most recent work deals with the intersection of sexuality and aesthetics and includes a monograph in progress, The Passions of John Addington Symonds, on the Victorian scholar, poet, and essayist responsible for one of the first major studies of same-sex love in Ancient Greece.

Professor Butler’s already published books reconstruct the material context of the production and circulation of Roman oratory (The Hand of Cicero, 2002), examine ways in which the physical formats of books shape the meanings and metaphors of the texts they embody (The Matter of the Page, 2011), follow the connections between literature and the senses into underlying questions about the nature of human experience (Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses, 2013, co-edited with Alex Purves), explore the role of the voice in the making and reading of classical literature, with insights drawn from later analogues (The Ancient Phonograph, 2015), consider how the study of a distant, buried, and never fully recoverable past reflects and enables other aspects of our relationship with our lives and our world (Deep Classics: Rethinking Classical Reception, edited, 2016), and survey the soundscapes of the ancient world (Sound and the Ancient Senses, co-edited with Sarah Nooter, 2019). He is also editing and translating the Latin Letters of Renaissance humanist Angelo Poliziano (vol. 1, 2006) for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, for which series he serves as Associate Editor. Additionally, he co-edits the series Classics After Antiquity for Cambridge University Press.

Recent book chapters and journal articles include “Cicero’s Grief” (Arion, 2018); “Things Left Unsaid” (I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 2018); “The Youth of Antiquity: Reception, Homosexuality, Alterity” (Classical Receptions Journal, 2019); “Is the Voice a Myth? A Re-Reading of Ovid,” in A Voice as Something More: Essays Toward Materiality, ed. Martha Feldman and Judith T. Zeitlin (2019); “What Was the Voice?” in The Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies (2019); “Cicero the Barbarian” (PMLA, 2020); and “Dogs and Phonographs” (Parallax, 2020).

Professor Butler is also the founder and director of the Classics Research Lab (CRL). With Gabrielle Dean he directed the lab’s first initiative, the John Addington Symonds Project (JASP).

Professor Butler received his Ph.D. from Columbia University (2000) and has held residential fellowships at the American Academy in Rome, the Villa I Tatti in Florence, and the Getty Villa in Malibu, as well as an invited residency at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (MPIWG) in Berlin. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2015. He had previously taught at the University of Bristol, UCLA, and the University of Pennsylvania.