Professor Anderson teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on ancient Greece and the general theory/practice of history. He is a graduate of the universities of Newcastle and London in his native Britain, and holds MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in Classics from Yale University.
Professor Anderson's primary research areas are ancient Greece, historical thought, and critical theory. He is particularly interested in the broad question of how one can write true or real histories of non-modern lifeworlds, worlds which lived by standards of truth and realness very different from our own. His first book, The Athenian Experiment (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), reconsidered the proverbial "birth of democracy" in Athens, exposing and exploring the radical differences between ancient and modern understandings of this landmark transformation. In similar vein, other publications have questioned the conventional use of the modern categories "state" and "tyranny" to characterize ancient Greek phenomena.
In his current book project, The Realness of Things Past, Professor Anderson offers a broader critique of the philosophical foundations of the discipline of history, whose reigning protocols require us to impose modern, western metaphysical conditions upon all past lifeworlds, thereby authorizing us to insert peculiarly modern phenemena, like states, economies, religions, and natural individuals, into non-modern experiences. To produce more ethical, more meaningful, more philosophically robust accounts of the past, it argues, we need to take an "ontological turn" in our practice, to analyze each non-modern world on its own ontological terms. A paper summarizing the book's main arguments, "Retrieving the Lost Worlds of the Past: The Case for an Ontological Turn," was the lead article in the June 2015 edition of American Historical Review (pp.787-810).
Professor Anderson was the primary author and co-director (with Professor John Brooke) of State Formations: Histories and Cultures of Statehood, the 2013-2015 program at OSU's Center for Historical Research. With his colleague in Chinese history, Professor Ying Zhang, he also founded and runs OSU's Premodernist Group, which brings together specialists on premodern and non-western worlds from across campus to consider theoretical issues of common concern. He has delivered over fifty professional papers in universities across North America and Europe and won seven awards for distinguished teaching.