The SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies 2023 Year in Review

December 22, 2023

The faculty and staff at the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies send you and yours our best wishes For this holiday season and for the coming new year!

This past year, here at the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, we hosted and participated in several compelling events, both academic and more cultural in character. We opened 2023 with our Spring Speaker Series, which brought to Vancouver and our SFU campus scholars from Harvard, the University of Athens and UCLA. We were happy to see many of you in those talks. Should you have missed them, you may find videos of the presented lectures posted to our YouTube channel. 

Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou offered the Seventh Annual Edward and Emily McWhinney Memorial Lecture. Her talk "Russia’s Religious Influence-Building in Greece: Geopolitical Disruption and Orthodox Transnational Competition" was moderated by the Edward and Emily McWhinney Professor in International Relations, James Horncastle.

In March, scholars the world over came to SFU Vancouver to participate in "Presenting the Past: Responsible Engagement and Ancient Mediterranean History". Organized by Dr Sabrina Higgins, this colloquium sought to explore how educators inside and outside the academy may more effectively participate in public discourse about the ancient Mediterranean. In concert with the Centre for Greek Language in Thesseloniki, the Ellinomatheia exams also took place in March at SFU under the supervision of Dr Dionysis Arkadianos. Youth of all ages and levels in Greek language learning took part.

With April came a visit by Dr. Kostis Kornetis of the Autonomous University of Madrid, whose online talk hosted by Pharos, titled: “Memory, Conflict, and Democratization in Post-Junta Greece” generated a vibrant conversation. At SFU Dr. Kornetis offered a graduate seminar on “Trauma and Memory through History and Culture”, while a recorded discussion among Drs Krallis, Kotsovili, and Kornetis on "Memory Conflict Democratization" may be viewed on our YouTube channel. Dr. Kornetis was hosted in Vancouver under the auspices of Gefyra, a three-year pilot collaboration between SFU and UCLA, funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The SNF Centre proudly participated in Greek Day on Broadway! We were there with our spinning wheel of Greek trivia, Centre buttons and, new this year, stickers from the Staellinika mythology program. We look forward to seeing you there in 2024 with some new surprises! We also co-sponsored the Greek Film Festival associated with the Greek Day celebrations and curated by our wonderful new partner Harry Killas of ECUAD.

Our Fall Speaker Series for 2023 started off with Tassos Boulmetis, a noted Greek film director and artist-in-residence at SFU and UCLA. Tassos joined us under the auspices of Gefyra. While he was here we also screened his recent film, 1968. Fall semester featured talks whose themes ranged from feminism in mythology, podcasting, Turkophone Greek identity in the 20s and 30s, the struggles over Egyptian identity in view of the ancient past and its colonial legacy, and ancient Athenian law.

Notably, the SNF Centre hosted the 49th annual Byzantine Studies Conference for North America. This event was held at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue at SFU Vancouver. Participants arrived from all over Europe and North America to present papers and catch up with colleagues. Graduate students from SFU presented papers and undergraduate students had the opportunity to attend this convivial event.

The collaborative program between SFU and UCLA, officially named Gefyra, brought five speakers to Vancouver and our first artist-in-residence (Tassos Boulmetis). It also sponsored two international conferences in which SFU faculty took part. What is more students and faculty were supported as they traveled to Laconia, Greece, to work on a Digital Humanities project facilitated by the SNF Centre’s New Media Lab and focused on the Women’s Weaving Collective in the village of Geraki! Asked about her travels with the project, M.A. student, Juliette Halliday noted: “For someone like me, who primarily works with texts, the Vamvakou project this past summer was a unique opportunity to engage with Byzantine material culture in Laconia and broaden my art historical knowledge. In Geraki, we were privileged to document beautiful kilims, record family histories, and witness the enduring female craftsmanship behind the Women’s Weaving Collective. It was an experience that I will always treasure.” We look forward to our shared adventures with UCLA in 2024.

With all this in our rearview mirror we look forward to having you join us on our journey in 2024.

All the best this season from our family to yours,

Dimitris Krallis, Director
Evan Freeman, Assistant Professor
Sabrina Higgins, Assistant Professor
James Horncastle, Assistant Professor
Eirini Kotsovili, Lecturer
David Mirhady, Professor & Chair, Department of Global Humanities
Spyros Sofos, Assistant Professor

Costa Dedegikas, Head, SNF New Media Lab
Heather Montgomery, Coordinator, Outreach & Engagement
Wallis Hartley, Program Assistant
Dionysios Arkadianos, Digital Learning Specialist