Modern Greek Studies Association Symposium 2009

We heard this past week that the Modern Greek Studies Association accepted a panel coordinated by Kostis Kourelis and Effie Athanassopoulos under the auspices of the Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in the Mediterranean Interest Group of the Archaeological Institute of America

The panel is entitled “From Town to Country: The Archaeology of Modern Greek Landscapes” and here’s the description:

Since the birth of the nation-state, the identity of Modern Greece has been defined by its relationship to antiquity. The discipline of archaeology has, thus, played a central role in the construction of Greece, but only in so far as it concerns ancient periods (archaia). For Greece, the archaeology of the recent past is an etymological contradiction. Material culture dating to after 1850 is considered non-archaeological; it can be exported and traded freely. Archaeological studies on 19th- and 20th-century Greece are greatly lacking, leaving a huge disciplinary gap with Historical Archaeology, a discipline that flourishes in the United States.

This panel brings together recent work applying archaeological perspectives to the material culture of Modern Greece spanning a spectrum of ecological milieus from the metropolis, to the small town, the village, the monastery and the rural landscape. The theme that connects the individual papers is that of “landscape” approached through the lens of archaeology. Landscape as a concept refers to the external world mediated through subjective human experience. In archaeology, approaches to landscape have changed drastically over time, from economic and ecological perspectives of the 1960s to more recent post-modern views that focus on the social and symbolic construction of landscapes. In Greece, the field of landscape archaeology has grown out of the tradition of archaeological regional surveys, introduced by American scholars during the 1950s.

The individual papers offer diverse perspectives and examine a wide variety of landscapes in the 19th and 20th century. The settings range from the urban space of 19th century Athens to the town of Corinth, to rural space in the upland basins of Corinthia, to monastic space in Mount Menoikeion in northern Greece, and to landscape features such as Mt. Pentadaktylos in Cyprus. Each paper applies a different methodological tactic. Some revisit older historical records, others collect new data or re-conceptualize physical relationships. Collectively, they represent the richness of a growing field. Susan Buck Sutton, who pioneered the study of the Modern Greek countryside and single-handedly developed the discipline of ethno-archaeology, has agreed to serve as the panel’s respondent.

The panel is sponsored by the Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in Greece Interest Group of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). The Group consists of AIA members with an interest in the archaeology of post-classical Greece, and in promoting its understanding through various programs and publications.

Here are the papers (for full abstracts):

“Athens in the 19th Century: Archaeological Landscapes and Competing Pasts”
Effie Athanassopoulos (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

“Ancient Corinth from the Ottoman Empire to the Archaeologists”
Amelia R. Brown (American School of Classical Studies at Athens)

Between Sea and Mountain: The Archaeology of a 20th-Century “Small World” in he Upland Basins of the Southeastern Korinthia
William R. Caraher (University of North Dakota)
David K. Pettegrew (Messiah College)
Timothy E. Gregory (Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia)
Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory (Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia)

“The Sacred Grip: Landscape, Art and Architecture in Mount Menoikeion (19th-20th Centuries)”
Nikolas Bakirtzis (The Cyprus Institute)
Kostis Kourelis (Connecticut College)
Matthew Milliner (Princeton University)

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