Monday, September 25, 2017

Panel Discussion: The World Refugee Crisis: A Long View


Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Ferris Seminars in Journalism
Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies
with the support of The Paul Sarbanes’54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service

Panel Discussion

“The World Refugee Crisis: A Long View”

Yannis Behrakis, Photojournalist
Deborah Amos, Humanities/Journalism
Rafaela Dancygier, Politics
Joe Stephens, Humanities/Journalism

Thursday, September 28, 2017, 4:30 p.m.
Arthur Lewis Auditorium, Robertson Hall



“The Worldwide Refugee Crisis: 
A Long View With an Emphasis on Greece”

Starting with the most recent refugee crisis in Greece, and continuing with dramatic images of wars in Chechnya, Afghanistan, the first and second Iraqi Gulf wars and many others, this exhibition bears witness to the indomitable spirit of displaced people trying to find better lives for themselves and their families.

Yannis Behrakis is a Greek photojournalist and chief photographer with Reuters. For more than 30 years, Behrakis has been winning awards for his war photography with a focus on the flow of refugees and migrants all over the world. His work on the Greek refugee crisis won him and his team a Pulitzer Prize in 2015. In 2017, Behrakis was appointed senior editor of special projects and ambassador for the Reuters photo department.

Bernstein Gallery, Robertson Hall
Thursday, September 7 through Wednesday, November 1, 2017
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Monday, December 5, 2016

To a Certain Degree Sacredness is in the Eye of the Beholder

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


To a Certain Degree Sacredness
is in the Eye of the Beholder

Stefania Strouza
 Independent Artist
Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Spyros Papapetros, Architecture

Stefania Strouza’s artistic practice focuses on aspects of a migrating modernity, seen as an open-ended process that plays a crucial role in the circulation of objects, humans, and collective imaginaries.  More specifically, her project To a Certain Degree Sacredness is in the Eye of the Beholder emphasizes on the eastern Mediterranean region as the merging—or colliding—point of ideological and historical forces between the “West” and the “Orient.”  Its point of departure consists of two journeys that “meet” on the Greek terrain: the journey to Athens by representatives of modernism for the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in 1933 and the journey of Euripides' Medea in the 1969 film by Pier Paolo Pasolini. These voyages are the “building material” (Baumaterial) for a series of installations that trace back upon these narratives, in an attempt to retrieve their contemporary undertone. This presentation of the project will focus on the relation of arts-based research and fictional accounts as two complementary methodologies of formulating an aesthetic and discursive space. It will ultimately propose the notions of materiality and abstraction as artistic strategies for the engagement with diverse cultural materials and the production of meaning.

Stefania Strouza is an artist and architect based in Vienna and Athens. She is a graduate of Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens (2007) and of the Sculpture Department of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (2015). In her practice she examines the relationship between cultural history and fictive events in contemporary aesthetic discourses. She has presented her work in several institutions in Greece and abroad: Bauhaus Foundation Dessau, Germany; Wiener Art Foundation, Austria (solo); Neue Galerie Innsbruck, Austria (solo); Athens & Epidaurus Festival, Greece (solo); BOZAR Brussels, Belgium; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece; Kunsthalle Athena, Athens, Greece. In 2016 she was a researcher at the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau and she was recently awarded the Mexico Artist Residency of the Austrian Ministry of Culture.
Friday, December 9, 2016
1:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Patriots and Internationalists: The Greek Left, the Cyprus Question and Latin America

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Patriots and Internationalists: 
The Greek Left, the Cyprus Question
and Latin America
Eugenia Palieraki
University of Cergy-Pontoise 
Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent:  Cyrus Schayegh, Near Eastern Studies 

It is no secret that the Cyprus question has profoundly marked modern Greek history and largely determined the way Greek national identity and nation-state were forged. It has also defined ideological identities and acted as a demarcation line dividing the Greek political scene. This talk will focus on the impact of the Cyprus question on the Greek Left during the post-WWII period through a somewhat different perspective. I will not approach the Cyprus question in terms of a nationalist-empowering factor, but rather as an awareness-raising process on decolonization challenges, national liberation struggles and Third-World dynamics, leading the Greek Left to forge ideological and human bonds with geographically and culturally distant regions —in this case, Latin America. The study of Cyprus as a mediator between Greece and Latin America, will allow me to address in the second part of my talk a wider historiographical issue: the relation between transnationalism and nation-state and how the assertion of patriotic values and national sovereignty can be intertwined with the feeling of belonging to a transnational imagined community.

Eugenia Palieraki is a tenured Associate Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Cergy-Pontoise. Her Ph.D. dissertation on 1960’s Latin American History was jointly supervised by the Pantheon-Sorbonne University and the Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUC) in Chile. In 2012, she was a visiting scholar at PUC and in 2016, she conducted a seminar at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Her current research interests focus on political connections between Latin America and the Mediterranean. She is the author of a series of articles and book chapters on the history of Latin American and European revolutions. Her monograph ¡La revolución ya viene! El MIR chileno en los años 1960 was published in Chile in 2014.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
4:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

‘Chinese’ Clothing and the Changing Qualities of the Greek Social Fabric

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


‘Chinese’ Clothing and the Changing Qualities of the Greek Social Fabric

Tracey Rosen
Ted and Elaine Athanassiades Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Elizabeth Davis, Anthropology

Shortly after Greece’s 2001 accession to the Eurozone, a sudden and sharp influx of Chinese merchants, capital, and commodities entered Greece and swiftly transformed the economic and physical landscape of its urban centers and rural peripheries. Taking this new contact situation between Chinese and Greek merchants and commodities as its subject, this talk draws from my larger work on Sino-Hellenic trade to examine the impact of Chinese commodities and migrants in Greece. In particular, I will be considering the widespread sentiment that these new “Chinese” products are “low quality” to open up a larger discussion on current transformations of value (political, economic, and moral) in Greece. What I refer to as “quality discourse” is a global practice of valuation that orients national desires and forms of social distinction in advanced capitalism. In Greece, quality discourse works to oppose national forms of manufacture, ways of life and social reproduction to what is viewed as a “mushrooming” of Chinese merchants and commodities. With reference to anthropological theories on exchange, I will discuss how mundane moments of petty trade can be taken as an enactment of the erosion of social relations and the general devaluation of the Greek economy and tradition.

Tracey Rosen received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, where she has taught undergraduate and graduate students. With funding from Fulbright-Hays and the Council for European Studies, she has conducted over three years of doctoral field research in Greece, Europe and China. Her dissertation examines the semiotic and practical dimensions of Chinese trade in Greece over the last fifteen years. Her research interests include global capitalism, migration, racial and ethnic formation, semiotics, and critical theory.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
4:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

Monday, November 14, 2016

Marrying in Byzantium: Medieval Christian Liturgies in the Eastern Mediterranean World

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Marrying in Byzantium:
Medieval Christian Liturgies in the 
Eastern Mediterranean World

Gabriel Radle 

Mary Seeger O’Boyle Postdoctoral Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Emmanuel Bourbouhakis, Classics

Across cultures, marriage is viewed as a key social and religious rite of passage. Yet no major study has been dedicated to the history of nuptials in Byzantium. The primary reason for this lacuna is the simple fact that the majority of liturgical manuscripts containing marriage rites have never been edited and remain scattered in monastic and national libraries around the world. This lecture will explore the evidence offered by these sources and examine the ways in which Christians of the medieval Eastern Mediterranean formed their marriage bonds through various church services and domestic rituals. The talk will compare these manuscripts to other textual sources, as well as extant visual and material evidence, in order to identify both common traits and regional variance in marriage ceremonies from Southern Italy to Palestine. The lecture will also raise a number of methodological questions regarding the historical study of Byzantine and Hellenic ritual culture.

Gabriel Radle specializes in the history of Christian ritual practice in the late ancient and medieval periods. His publications include studies on life cycle rites in the Middle East, monastic liturgy at Mt.  Sinai, medieval Christianity in Southern Italy, Byzantine migration patterns during the Arab conquest, and theories of prayer posture in East and West. He completed his doctorate in 2013 at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. He went on to hold fellowships at Yale University, Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Center for the Study of Christianity.

Monday, November 21, 2016
4:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Aristotle and Plato on Wonder and Philosophical Perplexity

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Spyridon Rangos
University of Patras 
Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Benjamin Morison, Philosophy

The lecture examines the role of wonder as the origin of philosophy in Aristotle’s surviving corpus. Special emphasis is given on the relevant passages of the Metaphysics (A.2, B.1) where Aristotle claims that philosophy springs from a particular kind of perplexity, i.e. the helpless puzzlement encountered when arguments pro and contra of a certain thesis counterbalance each other. To add perspective, Aristotle’s claim is seen against the background of (i) a very similar idea to be found in Plato’s Theaetetus, where Socrates suggests that the ability to experience profound perplexity is the defining feature of philosophical natures, (ii) Isocrates’ entirely different conception of philosophy, and (iii) Xenocrates’ opinion that philosophy springs from the recognition of the ineluctable vicissitudes of human life. Aristotle’s explicit view is that perplexity is overcome as soon as proper philosophical understanding is achieved. I shall argue, by contrast, against this claim to the effect that Aristotle’s and Plato’s metaphysical thinking carry unmistakable signs that wonder stands not only at the beginning but also at the end of philosophical speculation, especially when the philosopher is concerned with the principles of Being.

Spyridon Rangos is Associate Professor of Ancient Greek Literature and Philosophy at the University of Patras. He has been educated in the University of Athens, the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris), and the University of Cambridge where he received his Ph.D. Among his publications is a handbook on Hellenism and Christianity from the 1st to the 4th Centuries (Patras: Hellenic Open University 2000), a book (co-authored with Dimitris Kyrtatas) entitled Greek Antiquity: War – Politics – Culture (Thessaloniki: Institute of Modern Greek Studies 2010), and many papers on Greek literature, religion and philosophy. Recent titles include: “Empedocles on Divine Nature”, RMM 74 (2012); “Plato on the Nature of the Sudden Moment, and the Asymmetry of the Second Part of the Parmenides”, Dialogue 53 (2014); “First Philosophy, Truth, and the History of Being in Aristotle’s Metaphysics”, Claudia Baracchi (ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle (Bloomsbury 2014). Spyridon Rangos’ current research project is “Truth and Activity in Aristotle’s Metaphysics”.

Friday, November 11, 2016
1:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Co-sponsored by the Classical Philosophy Program

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

Princeton establishes a Center for Scholars in Athens

Princeton University's tradition of deep commitment to the humanities has long been connected to Greece and Hellenic culture, from antiquity to the present. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the University added a formal home base for Princeton scholars in Greece with the opening of the Princeton University Athens Center for Research and Hellenic Studies. Three years in the planning, the Center is led by the University's Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies.

President Christopher L. Eisgruber (second from right) leads the ribbon cutting at the Nov. 1 opening reception for the new Princeton University Athens Center for Research and Hellenic Studies with, from left, Seeger Trustee Mary O' Boyle; Christopher Cone, chair of the Seeger Board of Trustees; Dimitri Gondicas, founding director of Princeton's Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies; and Seeger Trustee Shirley M. Tilghman, emerita president of the University and professor of molecular biology and public affairs. Every year, the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies supports more than 100 Princetonians for study and research in Greece. (Photo by Kostas Mpekas for the Princeton University Athens Center for Research and Hellenic Studies)

"An academic home in Greece embodies some of the key goals of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund, established in 1979," said Dimitri Gondicas, founding director of the Seeger Center and a 1978 alumnus. "Creating the Princeton Athens Center was consistent with the vision of our benefactor, Stanley J. Seeger '52, whose legendary generosity made it possible for Princeton to be a world leader in Hellenic studies." Every year, the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies supports more than 100 Princetonians for study and research in Greece, said Gondicas.

At an evening reception at the new Center, Gondicas opened his remarks in Greek: "Kalos orisate! Welcome! … Princeton has enjoyed strong, enduring links with the Hellenic world, and it has been an international leader in the study of Greek culture. As scholars, educators, philanthropists, public servants, business people, art collectors and writers, Princetonians have contributed immensely to the cultural and international relations between Greece and the United States."

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and greeted the 55 guests including faculty, students, friends, and more than 30 undergraduate and graduate alumni spanning more than 50 years.

"This is the first time Princeton University has opened a research and scholarship center anywhere outside of the United States," said Eisgruber, Class of 1983. Acknowledging the "extraordinary generosity and vision" of Seeger's gifts and the gifts of many alumni attending the reception, Eisgruber said that one of the reasons the University chose to establish the center in Athens "as we become a more international university" is Princeton's "extraordinary humanistic tradition that finds its home here in Athens and in Greece."

He said these alumni gifts ask the University "to build upon the study of ancient and modern Greece and to do so in a way that understands the broad influence of Greece in the world. As we seek to make this enterprise succeed ... we will depend on our connections here in Greece to make this a thriving hub of activity."

The Center — located in the Stanley J. Seeger '52 House, a 1930s-era townhouse in downtown Athens renovated by Athens-based A6Architects — features conference facilities, a seminar room, offices, study spaces, informal common areas and a terrace with a view of the Parthenon in the distance. (Photo by Yannis Stathopoulos for A6Architects)

The Center — located in the Stanley J. Seeger '52 House, a 1930s-era townhouse in downtown Athens renovated by Nasos Antachopoulos and Yannis Younis of Athens-based A6Architects — features conference facilities, a seminar room, offices, study spaces, informal common areas and a terrace with a view of the Parthenon in the distance. Situated down the street from Aristotle's Lyceum in a historic, diverse neighborhood, the center is close to libraries, museums and archaeological sites.

Earlier in the day, Eisgruber toured the facility; met with Seeger trustees, Princeton faculty and staff; and took a guided visit of the Acropolis Museum.

The reception included remarks by Seeger Trustee Peter R. Brown, the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, Emeritus, on behalf of the Seeger family, and a performance by Nikos Michailidis, a native of Greece and 2016 graduate alumnus in anthropology and Hellenic studies, who sang a Greek folk song that he composed for this occasion, accompanied by the pontic lyra.

Also attending were Christopher Cone, president of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund; Shirley M. Tilghman, emerita president of the University and professor of molecular biology and public affairs; Anastasia Vrachnos, vice provost, international affairs and operations and a 1991 alumna; and Kathleen Crown, executive director of the Council of the Humanities.

"Thanks to Dimitri Gondicas and his inspired colleagues, this research center will continue to inspire a new generation of students and scholars," Tilghman said.

"The Center enhances the University's international profile, emphasizes our increasingly global outlook and showcases areas of excellence for Princeton scholarship," Vrachnos said.

Gondicas added that the Princeton Athens Center is designed to extend international opportunities across academic disciplines. "We have strong interest on the part of colleagues in the natural sciences and engineering to be part of this new venture, so they can engage actively with their counterparts and students in Greece."

On the morning of Nov. 2, Benjamin Morison, professor of philosophy, led a "research-in-progress" precept with 11 Princeton sophomores who had taken the team-taught yearlong Humanities Sequence (HUM) — which covers 2,500 years of Western culture from Homer to Virginia Woolf — their freshman year. First-year students who have completed the course may apply to travel to Greece or Rome during fall break of their sophomore year, fully funded by the University. Nicolette D'Angelo, a member of the Class of 2019 and a HUM sequence "alumna," shares her account of her experience visiting Greece this week on Princeton's Instagram.

After lunch at a neighborhood restaurant, the students had a guided tour of the National Archaeological Museum. The activities continued with an evening of music at the Center, cosponsored by the Princeton Club of Greece, featuring traditional songs of Greece and Asia Minor.

Learning from the Hellenic world: Ancient, Medieval and Modern

Opportunities for Princeton students to study and conduct research in Greece range from an archaeological excavation in northern Greece to PIIRS Global Seminars focused on history and theater.

Michael Cadden, chair of Princeton's Lewis Center for the Arts, has twice co-taught "Re:Staging the Greeks," crosslisted in theater and Hellenic studies, with a spring break trip to Greece. In summer 2012, he co-taught the course as a six-week PIIRS Global Seminar, which he will teach again in summer 2017.

"I love the idea of having a Princeton home base in Athens to help center our activities and to encourage contact with other Princeton faculty and students pursuing projects in Greece," Cadden said. "And we'll be able to invite our Greek friends over to our place. The Greeks take hospitality very seriously!"

Edwin Rosales, a senior who is majoring in English and earning certificates in theater, creative writing and Latino studies, took "Re:Staging the Greeks" last spring. He is writing a play as one of his two senior theses and said, "I would not have been as inspired as I am now to take risks in my pieces, and to try to find the human passion and raw feeling of joy in every moment I put on stage, if I had not visited Athens and learned about how the people of Athens find this joy, passion and opportunities to take risks and enjoy life as they do."

Sahand Keshavarz Rahbar, a senior who is majoring in history, first visited Greece in fall 2014 as part of the course "The Apostle Paul in Text and Context," taught by AnneMarie Luijendijk, professor of religion. "As a historian, I am often struck by the idea of the ineffable — those sights and sounds that escape description," he said. "Study abroad provides students with the opportunity to capture those senses, to more fully envision the particulars that eluded their understanding when reading a hefty textbook or journal article."

Rahbar returned to Greece two more times — in summer 2015, for an internship at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Athens and to participate in the PIIRS Global Seminar "Thessaloniki: 2,000 Years of a City in History," taught by Molly Greene, professor of history and Hellenic studies and a 1993 graduate alumna who attended the center's opening reception; and in summer 2016, to volunteer at a refugee camp, all funded in part by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, with the support of The Paul Sarbanes '54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service. "My trips allowed me to become a part of history, and to gain an intimacy with past events that I could never achieve in a classroom, thousands of miles away," he said.

Senior Claire Ashmead, who is concentrating in history and earning certificates in humanistic studiesEast Asian studies and creative writing, traveled to Greece over fall break 2014 after taking the HUM sequence, which she said was like a pilgrimage in learning about "the origin of Western culture." As part of that trip, she also completed an independent project on the 20th-century Greek artist, writer and scholar Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, with funding from Princeton's David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project.

In partnership with Hellenic studies, the Council of the Humanities hosts faculty-led trips to Greece and organized Princeton's first journalism seminar abroad last summer, called "Reporting on the Front Lines of History — in Greece."

Hayley Roth, a senior who is majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, participated in that course, in which students honed on-the-ground reporting skills while covering the refugee crisis and meeting with journalists. "The course posed the thrilling challenge of frontline global reporting, which I never dreamed of experiencing as an undergraduate," Roth said.

Natalie Hammer Noblitt contributed to this report.

Article from the Princeton Alumni Weekly