Universiteit Leiden

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Tazuko van Berkel

Associate professor

Dr. T.A. van Berkel
+31 71 527 2674

Tazuko van Berkel is an Assistant Professor at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Tazuko van Berkel


Tazuko van Berkel is specialised in Ancient Greek literature, philosophy and history of ideas. She works on ancient Greek ideas on friendship, money, numbers, economics and human nature. In 2020 Van Berkel published her monograph The Economics of Friendship. She is currently PI of the NWO Vidi project From Homo Economicus to Political Animal. 

Fields of interest

  • Greek language and literature
  • history of economic theory, history of economic thinking
  • the history of ideas, especially value terminology
  • ancient history
  • economic anthropology
  • ancient philosophy, especially ethical texts, dialectics, relativism, skepticism
  • modern philosophy; the philosophy of economics

Research projects

From Homo Economicus to Political Animal (NWO Vidi)

Who is Economic Man? Every economic paradigm presupposes an anthropology, a theory of human nature. This NWO-Vidi project explores the anthropologies presupposed and produced by ancient Greek economic texts, and the specific knowledge forms that shape these anthropologies.

Xenophon and the Emotions

In collaboration with Gabriel Danzig (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), I am organizing a conference on Xenophon’s implicit emotion theory (May 2021), where we aim to bring together current concepts and theories from emotion studies and explore their potential for analyzing concepts, theories, themes and narrative techniques in Xenophon’s oeuvre.

Sources and Echoes of Protagoras

As the data architect and one of the project leaders, in collaboration with Dr. Michele Corradi (Aix-Marseilles), Dr. Adriaan Rademaker, Dr. Marlein van Raalte, Prof. dr. Noburu Notomi (Keio University, Tokyo), Irmgard Männlein-Robert (Tübingen), and Mees Gelein (Leiden University), I ampreparing a dynamic digital edition of the sources of Protagoras of Abdera, a key figure in early Greek reflection on democracy and human nature. In 2020 Mees Gelein and I have received a LUCDH Small Grant for developing a prototype for the digital editor that will facilitate the construction of a granular and complex database.

Eudemus of Rhodes

In collaboration with Dr. Peter Stork and Prof. dr. Johannes van Ophuijsen we are preparing an annotated edition of the fragments of Eudemus of Rhodes that will result in a monograph in the Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities-series. I am translating and annotating the mathematical fragments.

Counting and Accountability. The Politics of Numbers in the democracy of Classical Athens (NWO Veni)

We live in a data-drenched society awash with numbers. An inhabitant of the democratic polis of Athens (5th and 4th centuries B.C.E.) increasingly found himself surrounded by numerical data. This project aims to analyze the communicative functions and the political meaning(s) ascribed to these public numbers and calculations.

Mass Communication in Classical Antiquity (NIAS Theme Group)

In the spring term of 2012 I was a research fellow at the NIAS in Wassenaar in the group “Mass communication in Classical Antiquity” that worked on communication strategies in contexts of mass communication and decision making in Greco-Roman Antiquity. My work on the communicative functions of numbers and calculations in the Greek world has resulted in my successful Veni-proposal (2013).

Moral Accounting

In collaboration with Prof. Dr. Arjo Klamer I have organized seminars on the principles of Moral Accounting.

Art Project: A Community of Weak Ties

In a collaborative art project with artists (Ronald Boer, Jonmar van Vlijmen) and anthropologists (Dr. Erik Baehre, Nikkie Buskermolen) we have been working on new ways of conceptualizing and tackling debt problems among youngsters in Amsterdam New West. Our aim was to establish a Community of Weak Ties and to stage encounters between people from different social environments.

Project Team


Awards and Scholarships 

Key publications

  • “Made to Measure: Protagoras’ metron”, in: J.M. van Ophuijsen, M. van Raalte & A.M. Rademaker (eds.), Protagoras of Abdera. The man, his measure, Leiden 2013
  • “Pricing the Invaluable. Socrates’ Economics of Friendship”, in: R. Rosen & I. Sluiter (eds.), Valuing Others in Classical Antiquity, Leiden 2010, 249-77. 
  • T.A. van Berkel, The Economics of Friendship. Conceptions of Reciprocity in Classical Greece, Leiden 2020
  • R. Sing, T.A. van Berkel & R. Osborne (eds.), Numbers and Numeracy in the Greek Polis, Leiden (forthcoming)

Associate professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Griekse T&C

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number A0.28




  • Stichting Akademeia docent, moderator (op incidentele basis)
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