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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

Dimitra Loumiotis

Meeting Schedule

09/30/2022 Hamilton Hall 618, Columbia University
6:00 PM
Rewriting the Script
William Stroebel, University of Michigan


William Stroebel (University of Michigan) will discuss Mehmet Yaşın’s Sınırdışı Saatler (The Deported Hours, 2003), a novel featuring Greek and Turkish script that tells the story of a Karamanli refugee and of the writer who brought him back to life and forges unexpected pathways between geographies,languages, scripts, and confessional communities.

Karen Emmerich, Princeton University

10/25/2022 TBA
12:00 PM
Entering Avato
Sotiris Tsinganos, Latent Community


Sotiris Tsinganos and Ionian Bisai (Latent Community) present an idiosyncratic diary combining texts, images, and sounds from their visits to Avato (literally, “a site that should not be accessed”), a village in northern Greece that is home to a long-established Turkish-speaking Black community. The diary examines how we might draw on public humanities methods to create an archive for a community in a highly politicized borderland.

Ionian Bisai, Latent Community

11/15/2022 Dodge Hall screening room, Columbia University
6:00 PM
Days and Nights of Demetra K. (Eva Stefani, 2020)


Eva Stefani’s documentary tells the story of Demetra, a sex worker who used to own one of the oldest brothels in Athens. Stefani follows Dimitra for 12 years to produce a rare meditation on love, agency, and the passage of time. In the discussion, Stefani will present a journal that she kept during the filming, a window into her creative process and a rare commentary in itself on the interplay between sketches and the moving image.

03/07/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
5:00 PM
Archeologies Of Care: The Refugee Colony of Washingtonia
Kostis Kourelis, Franklin & Marshall College


Forced migration has been a consistent feature of modern Greek history, creating architectural solutions for crisis management. The ephemeral character of migrant architecture, however, has rendered it invisible to a historiography that privileges permanent monuments, especially those that illustrate a proud national heritage and continuities with an ancient monumentality. In this seminar architectural historian and archaeologist Kostis Kourelis (Franklin & Marshall College) will advocate for an archaeology of care, a diachronic study of installations where refugees have been cared for through the centuries. He will do so by considering an early case of humanitarian intervention in a global setting: the refugee colony of Washingtonia in Corinth, established by Americans in 1829 to house displaced people from Chios, Smyrna, and Athens. Kourelis will present the preliminary research for an undergraduate field school that aims to locate Washingtonia and create a cultural heritage management plan for the region’s migrant past.

04/07/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
5:00 PM
Research Into the Shadows: Karagiozis in Asia Minor
Christine Philliou, UC Berkeley


This workshop explores the role of historical research in shadow theater. SNFPHI awardees Spyros Aggelopoulos and Themos Skandamis discuss with historian Christine Philliou (UC Berkeley) and Columbia faculty their new play Karagiozis in Asia Minor, the outcome of a collaboration with scholars from Turkey and Greece. How might shadow theater become a vehicle for popularizing knowledge on early 20th century identity in Anatolia, the Greek-Turkish War, and the subsequent exchange of populations? How can collaborative work between artists and scholars inspire and inform the form and content of shadow theater?

Spyros Aggelopoulos,

Themos Skandamis ,