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Classical Reception Seminar Series

When Mar 01, 2018
from 05:15 PM to 07:00 PM
Where G.21
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Prof. Dimitris Tziovas (Professor of Modern Greek Studies, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham)

Archaeo-politics and the Greek crisis

Abstract:

The crisis has induced Greek society to rethink its values, to revisit its founding myths and to re-examine its earlier certainties. This involves to a certain extent a narrativisation of the traumas of history, an interrogation of past practices and a critical search for what went wrong using the past as a guide. It is also common for people to try to draw parallels between past and present momentous events and compare the present crisis with other debt crises or traumatic experiences. History plays a significant role in the way Greeks negotiate the crisis. On the other hand, many foreign commentators and journalists have used ancient Greek mythology or imagery in order to illustrate the country’s dire economic situation and the predicament of its people. Embodying the past in the present suggests that the experience of the crisis is ‘polytemporal’, involving past instances of suffering and hardship. Through affective references to those moments, the crisis is historicised and temporalities collapse. This paper aims to explore how and to what extent Greeks and others read, revisit or revise the country’s ancient past in the light of the crisis. The past is destabilised and at the same time acts as a source of strength. The aim is to explore the ways the crisis has made the ancient past more public, more controversial and more relevant.  

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