Roman art and architecture; Ancient Mediterranean visual culture over the longue durée; macro-historical study of critical/cultural theory; cultural heritage research and notions of legitimacy and authenticity in ancient art
John Hopkins works on physical/visual/spatial experience and the diachronic investigation of cultural and societal shift in the ancient Mediterranean. His book, The Genesis of Roman Architecture, is a study of Roman art and architecture up to the mid fifth century BCE and the effects of early urban and artistic change on the formation of the Republic and the history of Roman art. He has also published articles on the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Rome’s first and most enduring colossal temple, and on the creation of the Roman Forum.
In recent monographic work, Hopkins has shifted his focus to connectivity between Rome and the Mediterranean world in the art of the fifth to second centuries BCE.
Hopkins is co-director of the Collections Analysis Collaborative, a digital research and educational initiative to investigate the provenance and social history of nearly 600 objects from the Ancient Mediterranean in the Menil Collection and to explore how open collaboration between museums and scholars can shed new light on challenges that face art historians, archaeologists and museum professionals in a new era of cultural stewardship. He is also co-director of the 2017-2018 Rice Seminar, Forgery and the Ancient. This year-long think tank brings together eight scholars for collective and independent study on the notions and practices of forgery as it relates to the ancient world. Along with invited speakers and interested faculty, these eight scholars will investigate the topic as part of their own research programs and in anticipation of a conference and collaborative publication on the subject.
As co-director of the program in Museums and Cultural Heritage, Hopkins oversees the administration of the minor, advises students, and is responsible for the development of new inter-institutional projects and opportunities for the program.
As part of his PhD research at The University of Texas at Austin, Hopkins began working in digital reconstruction. The fragmentary nature of early Roman art led him to begin a project with the UCLA Experiential Technology Center, and an electronic publication through the American Council of Learned Societies E-book series, titled Visualizing the Genesis of Roman Architecture, will incorporate an advanced, fully interactive virtual model of early Rome into a scholarly framework with imbedded citations.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Getty Research Institute. He is also a Fellow of the Rice Center for Teaching Excellence from 2016 to 2019.