Zara Amdur

Ph.D. in Philosophy and M.A. in Classical Studies



I study ancient Greek philosophy from a feminist perspective. In Summer 2023, I earned a PhD in Philosophy and an MA in Classical Studies from Boston University with a dissertation on women and the metaphors of sexual reproduction in Plato. Particularly, my dissertation focused on Socrates/Diotima’s speech in Plato’s Symposium and Socrates’ description of himself as a midwife in Theaetetus

In Fall 2023, I joined the philosophy department at Texas Tech. Before that, I had a graduate dissertation fellowship with BU’s Center for the Humanities and taught several classes for BU’s writing program.
Before coming to BU, I earned my BA at Saint John’s College in Santa Fe NM which is known for its “Great Books” curriculum.

Email: zeamdur AT gmail DOT com

The background for this page is the ancient equivalent of a book cover, depicting Socrates and Diotima engrossed in conversation with one another as an abstract personification of Eros looks on.


In Plato’s Symposium, Plato has Socrates claim, through the voice of Diotima, that “All human beings are pregnant.” (206c) In doing so, he feminizes the human experience: we are not only all of woman born, but, in some important way, all women. Why? The simple reason is that human beings do not solely desire the good at one time or another, rather they desire the good to be theirs “always.” (206a) Human beings desire to transcend the limits of our mortality, and childbirth seems to accomplish this goal.

Although many authors end their analysis of the pregnancy metaphor here, it is a perplexing place to end. Childbirth creates new life, but also leads to death for many women. More must be said about how motherhood and reproduction prolong human life.

My dissertation argues Plato’s metaphors of pregnancy and birth present knowledge acquisition as a generative process that is interpersonally informed and collaborative. I build this reading with close attention to the cultural context surrounding the female characters that Plato’s Socrates attributes knowledge to, particularly Socrates’ mother, Phaenarete the midwife, and Diotima, a woman he calls his teacher. 

Other works in progress include:                                                                   

  • Sophistic Medicine

  • Injustice in Hesiod and Anaximander

Select Presentations:

  1. “This Speech is Not True: Plato’s Poetic Denial of Poetry,” Poetic Philosophers, Notre Dame, Oct. 2016

  2. “Unlocking Plato’s Aviary with Aristotle’s ἐντελεχεια,” Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Participant’s Conference, July 7th 2018

  3. “The Ethics of Reading Diotima as a Historical Figure,” 5th Braga Colloquium, Jan 21, 2020

  4. “Four Different Methods of Treating Diotima as a Historical Figure,”

    International Association of Women Philosophers, Online, July 19, 2021

  5. “Plato's Appropriation of Hesiodic Eros,” Feminism and Classics May 2022

  6. “Wisdom does not flow like water: Plato's Critique of Pederasty,” APA, Central Division, February 22, 2023

  7. “The Embodied Foreignness of Diotima and Penia in Plato’s Symposium,” Boston College Philosophy Graduate Conference, March 24, 2023


According to Aristotle’s Metaphysics, “All human beings by nature desire to know.” What is Aristotle’s argument for that claim? Can you think of a counter-example? In my Ancient Greek Philosophy class, we always come up with one.

    This activity is paradigmatic of my approach to teaching, offering a structure that allows students to try out their ideas and come up with their own questions. 

Other activities include:

  • Acting out Plato’s Symposium (Script here)

  • Inventing our own Aristotlian virtues

  • Analyzing Aristotle’s examples in De Anima ii.1 to illustrate the relationship between potentiality and actuality 

Sole Instructor Classes:            

  1. Ancient Greek Philosophy, 

    Summer 2019                     

  2. Ancient Greek Philosophy,

    Summer 2020                        

  3. Is Jane Austen a moral philosopher?, Fall 2020               

  4. Feminist Perspectives on Power, Spring 2021      

  5. Sex, Gender, and Power, 

    Fall 2021                              

  6. The Origins of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Spring 2022 

In addition to these, I have been a “Teaching Fellow” for Medical Ethics, Philosopy of Sex and Gender, Philosophy of Film, and Introduction to Ethics.

In 2018-9, I won the “Outstanding Teaching Fellow” Award from the philosophy department. 

For more, see CV. Thanks!