• Founded
  • Seminar Number

The seminar’s title emphasizes the language—modern Greek—over the metropolitan nation-state, modern Greece. By so doing, the seminar uses the enduring and versatile nature of the language as a symbol for broader themes that, both diachronically and synchronically, depict the tension between sameness and difference, between the continuities and discontinuities that comprise the Hellenic world. The seminar does not limit its focus to Modern Greece, even though it remains its foremost concern, instead it seeks to provide a forum for original interdisciplinary perspectives on Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greece and the Greek diaspora. Seminar participants from a wide variety of fields consider all aspects of the post-classical Greek world as well as the reception and creative appropriation of the classical Greek tradition both in Greece and abroad. The seminar examines Greek relations with Western Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Caucasus and the Middle East, tracing also the cultural presence of historic Greek communities in these areas as well as in more recent diasporas, in the United States and Australia. The seminar also examines the presence of diverse communities within Greece.


Past Meetings

Professor Dimitrios Antoniou

Professor Karen Van Dyck

Chloe Howe Haralambous

Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.

Meeting Schedule

10/08/2019 618 Hamilton Hall, Columbia University
6:00 PM
Replicas and Reconstructions in the Service of the Nation: Istanbul, Athens, Skopje
Kalliopi Amygdalou, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Greece)


In South-eastern Europe, a region parcelled into nation-states with exclusive definitions of identity, architectural heritage has often been recruited in the service of politics. Shared layers of history (Classical, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman etc.) have been split among competing historiographies and in a period marked by crisis, conservatism and 'East-West' dilemmas they are still in the core of heated debates today, impeding visions of European integration, prosperity and peace. Anchored on on-going projects in three cities in the region, this research explores the ways heritage is claimed through practices of reproduction and reconstruction. In some cases such practices correspond to recurring waves of revivalist architecture, such as North Macedonia’s ‘Skopje 2014’ project which was widely protested by citizens and neighbouring countries. Elsewhere, large replica buildings are installed in the heart of the city, such as in Istanbul, where the reconstruction of the barracks on Gezi park ignited the Taksim Square riots in 2013 and the on-going reconstruction of Hagia Sophia’s medrese caused the reaction of ICOMOS. In other cases yet, the production of copies is politicised on a much smaller scale, as testified by the copies of the Elgin Marbles in the New Acropolis Museum and the copy of “Alexander’s Sarcophagus” in the Skopje Archaeological Museum. The research aims to ask, how do replicas, copies and reconstructions intersect with questions of national identity and economic policy? And how is their relationship with the original transformed, lost or, at times, irrelevant? Moreover, in a region of strongly defined borders, how do such objects connect to each other, addressing local and international audiences?