Alan Shapiro is a classical archaeologist with a particular interest in Greek art, myth, and religion in the Archaic and Classical periods. He has written numerous studies of Greek vase iconography, including Personifications in Greek Art (1993) and Myth into Art: Poet and Painter in Classical Greece (1994). His interest in the interrelationship among art, religion, and politics is best represented in his book Art and Cult Under the Tyrants in Athens (1989; Supplement, 1995). He is currently working on a study of Theseus in 5th-century Athens.
Professor Shapiro has organized several exhibitions of Greek art, including Greek Vases from Southern Collections (New Orleans, 1981); (with Beth Cohen) Mother City and Colony: Classical Athenian and South Italian Vases in New Zealand and Australia (Christchurch, 1995); and (with Nikos Kaltsas) Worshiping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens (Onassis Cultural Center, New York, 2008). He is also co-editor of Greek Vases in the San Antonio Museum of Art (1995) and editor of the Cambridge Companion to Archaic Greece (2007).
Before coming to Johns Hopkins in 1997, Professor Shapiro taught at numerous universities, including Columbia, Tulane, Stevens Tech, and Canterbury (New Zealand). As a visiting professor, he has taught at Princeton, Munich, Cape Town, and Fudan universities, and in 1992–93 and again in 2012–13 was Whitehead Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.