Friday, November 27, 2020

Swinging Democracy: Law in Early Hellenistic Athens

Ilias Arnaoutoglou, Director of Research in the Centre for the History of Greek Law (ΚΕΙΕΔ), Academy of Athens



This paper adopts a deliberately challenging approach to the messy period of Athenian constitutional history of the late 4th and early 3rd century BC. Swinging democracy has nothing to do with the swinging twenties with the atmosphere of exaltation, creativity, and optimism run through the post-war Western Europe and America. It rather describes the changes and their imprint (long-lasting or not) on the Athenian institutional landscape. It also aims to contribute to the discussion about continuity and rupture in the transitory period from classical to Hellenistic and to question the qualification of the period 322 to 262 BC as Hellenistic.

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Memory Called Empire: Science Fiction from a Byzantinist's Frame

Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, Author

Co-produced with the Department of English, SFU


Summary of "A Memory Called Empire" Novel

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Mapping the Margins: Introducing the Central Achaia Phthiotis Survey

Margriet Haagsma, Associate Professor, University of Alberta

Sponsored by AIA Vancouver and Eugene Societies



This paper introduces the new landscape project, the Central Achaia Phthiotis Survey (CAPS) which focuses on the interplay between environmental, geopolitical, cultural and social factors for community/ies living in a region in Thessaly (central Greece) through time. The project aims to deconstruct the concept of marginality that is currently projected on this area, and re-assesses the landscape's dynamic roles as a boundary zone, as a corridor landscape and as an area of centrality in the context of long term Thessalian history. One of our questions is how people have 'identified' with this region and what role ancestral landscapes play in processes of remembering and forgetting. To illustrate the project's challenges, the seminar will include a discussion on 21st-century perceptions of the region's cultural heritage. What is remembered? What is forgotten? And why?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Going after Eva Palmer Sikelianos

Artemis Leontis, C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan

Co-organized with the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture



For more than a decade, Artemis Leontis has carried out a recovery project researching and writing the life of Eva Palmer Sikelianos, publishing her biography in 2019. Leontis knew Palmer as a shadowy figure in Greek cultural history, known mostly as the wealthy American wife of the Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos, who spent all her money on his projects. Through intensive detective work, she has uncovered a bigger, more complicated story of a brilliant, beautiful, countercultural, queer woman who may be the most influential philhellene after Lord Byron. In this talk, she will speak of going “after” Eva Palmer Sikelianos in the double sense of pursuit and succession. She will recount some of her adventures pursuing the hidden archival resources of Palmer’s life, then foreground the stakes of modern encounters with the ancient Greeks in the light of spectrums of meaning found in Palmer' legacy.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Back Through the System...Again: Taking Apart the Aegean Bronze Age

Dimitri Nakassis, Professor and Chair of Classics, University of Colorado Boulder

Co-sponsored by the AIA Vancouver and Eugene Societies



For the past century or more, archaeologists and historians have grown accustomed to thinking about the Aegean Bronze Age in terms of Minoans and Mycenaeans. These terms are properly a kind of shorthand for complex material phenomena called archaeological cultures, but they have also come to represent cultural groups or even civilizations characterized by specific social and economic systems. Once you realize that “Minoan” covers almost two millennia of history (ca. 3000-1100 BCE) and “Mycenaean” half a millennium (ca. 1600-1100 BCE), however, it becomes hard to believe that they are entirely useful categories for interpreting the past. Indeed, the classifications that archaeologists use – whether cultural or chronological – are much less innocent than we would like to believe. They aren’t simply empirical ‘facts’ about the world; rather, they are theoretical constructions. In some cases, they may also be products of an outdated way of thinking about human societies. In this lecture, I focus on the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean to illustrate the problems with certain kinds of archaeological abstractions, and I suggest new ways of thinking about Late Bronze Age communities and their history.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Church, State & the People(s): Educational Policies and Medieval History Curricula in the Balkans

Jovana Anđelković, PhD Candidate, SFU



In 1997, a team of European researchers led by Bodo von Borries and Magne Anvik published a lengthy comparative survey on the historical consciousness of young European students. After distributing questionnaires in 25 countries, speaking with teachers, analyzing educational practices, and, most importantly, collecting data from 32000 students, they came to find that despite all innovative didactic endeavors, students continue to look for authority in their curricula and tend to absorb the official narrative. The connections between past(s) and present(s), however, inevitably become more complex as historical knowledge steps closer to our active, accessible public memory as it does for World War II, for example. But when we are talking about the very distant, poorly recorded past(s) – like the one of the Byzantine Empire – school-provided authority plays a significantly larger role in our collective historical imagination. This lecture will explore the ways in which the Eastern Roman Empire features in elementary and high school level classrooms of Serbia and North Macedonia (with some reflections to Greece). It is a review of prematurely interrupted research that was conducted this spring in the Balkans, before the pandemic struck. On a smaller than originally expected scale, it examined the structure of textbooks, imagery and national policies and peeked behind the closed doors of educational decision-makers. With all the hastily gathered material, this lecture – and the research it stemmed from – will try to place Byzantium into a national, international, European, identity-based, cultural and pedagogical context. At a time when the president of the United States is talking about the need for more “patriotic” curricula, let’s take a moment to examine official, government-supported instructions for history education in the Balkans and what it means to have a textbook that “creates national identities” or teaches students “to love their fatherland.”