Hellenic Studies Announcements, February 2004
- Workshop - Tuesday, February 3, 6:00 p.m. Christian Schäfer: "The Anonymous Naming the Names:Pseudonymity and Philosophical Programme in Dionysius the Areopagite"
<Posted on 01/27/2004 11:07>
Christian Schdfer (University of Regensburg; Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: Christian Wildberg (Department of Classics)
Humanities Program Building, Room 103
The key to understand Dionysius' intricate philosophical programme is not to interpret him via Proclus as so many interpreters have done for the last hundred years and still do. On the contrary, the key to a proper interpretation of Dionysius' writings is the methodical acceptance of the literary fiction of reading an author who - Athenian born and raised long before Proclus in the pagan culture of Christ's times - finds himself faced with early Christian doctrine. It is precisely the naive enthusiasm and the immediateness of the first encounter of the highly advanced and venerable pagan wisdom and of the recently emerging and yet unheard of Christian doctrine that the literary fiction wants to restore. Dionysius' method in this consists of the presentation of a Platonic ontology by way of Biblical theonyms. These never express anything about God Himself, but they help to understand what God wants us to understand of Him quoad nos. I think that it is not too far fetched to compare (Biblical) theonym and (author's) allonym at this point. In Dionysius' theo-ontology, the theonyms express whatever God wants us to know about Him and whatever we can grasp of Him by His self-communication towards us, yet they ultimately cannot reveal Him as He is. The allonym 'Dionysius Areopagita' lets us know how the author of this theo-ontology wants to be read and received by us but not who he really is. The quoad nos of his writing is thus implicitly revealed by its author; it has to be read and understood as if it were the communication of a Christian author whose objective it is to proclaim the 'unknown God' to philosophically educated heathens, naming Him with the revealed theonyms of the Bible. For this purpose, however, he employs Platonic thought, a medium of expression and a philosophical doctrine which in his (historical) times proved to be the highest form of pondering the Divine mystery. The allonym of the Biblical Areopagite allows Dionysius to confess and to emphasise his claim of pertaining to both sides reconciled in his writings. I shall try to explain this intrinsic relationship between pseudonymity and literary programme by a close reading of some pertinent text passages.
Christian Schäfer studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Munich and at the Gregoriana University in Rome. In 1995 he earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy (summa cum laude) at the University of Regensburg with a dissertation on Xenophanes of Kolophon, that was published in 1996 at Teubner's, Stuttgart. In 2000 he completed his 'Habilitation' in Philosophy with a thesis on the question of evil in Neoplatonism, published at Konigshausen&Neumann, Wurzburg, 2002. His is currently Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Regensburg. [Last Updated 2004]
- Workshop - Friday, February 6, 2:30 p.m. Angela Dimitrakaki: "(Post)modernism, Geography and Feminist Art History: The Male Nude in Twentieth Century Greek Painting"
<Posted on 02/02/2004 10:46>
Angela Dimitrakaki (University of Southampton;Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent (Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, University of Delaware)
Humanities Programs Building, Room 103
This presentation will consider the processes and discourses leading to a hegemonic framework of meaning in art history and criticism in twentieth century Greece. The ideological construct of the periphery (versus a centre), the quest for a national subject in art and the inconclusive debates on modernism and postmodernism constitute key issues in this enquiry, which takes as its case study the interplay of present (dominant) and absent (suppressed) meanings in readings of the male nude, with specific reference to the work of Yannis Tsarouchis and Aspa Stassinopoulou.
Angela Dimitrakaki is lecturer in Art History and convener of the M.A. Modern & Contemporary Art at the University of Southampton. She holds a B.A. in Archaeology and Art History from the University of Athens (Greece), an M.A. in Gallery Studies from the University of Essex and a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Reading. Her research and publications focus on contemporary art, the politics of space, gender and ideology, including the examination of visual art production in Modern Greece within a European framework of references. She has co-edited three volumes of essays: Private Views: Spaces and Gender in Contemporary Art from Britain and Estonia (2000), Independent Practices: Representation, Location and History in Contemporary Visual Art (2002) and ReTrace: Dialogues on Contemporary Art and Culture(2002). In 2003 Angela Dimitrakaki was awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board in Britain to examine women artists' film and video in diverse social contexts in Europe. As Hellenic Studies Visiting Fellow at Princeton, she is completing part of a book on gender, art and ideology in Modern Greece. Angela Dimitrakaki has also published (in Greek) a collection of short stories and two novels. Her latest novel Antithalassa was short listed for the 2003 Best Novel Prize of the Greek literary review Diavazo. [Last Updated 2004]
- Luncheon Talk - Monday, February 23, 1:30 p.m. Chrysi Kotsifou: "A Greek Traveler in Upper Egypt"
<Posted on 02/23/2004 09:25>
Chrysi Kotsifou (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Humanities Program Building, Room 103
- Workshop - Friday, February 27, 2:30 p.m. Haris Exertzoglou: " Poverty and the Poor in Ottoman Urban Centers: From the Late 19th to the Early 20th Century"
<Posted on 02/23/2004 09:10>
Haris Exertzoglou (University of the Aegean;Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: Molly Greene (Department of History and Program in Hellenic Studies)
Humanities Program Building, Room 103
The issue of poverty and the poor received major attention during the nineteenth century. Although poor people had existed in the past, it was only in that period that their existence became the focus of public debate, and specific strategies were elaborated to deal with the issue of poverty in general. In fact, such strategies were common to all religious communities of Ottoman society. My purpose is to show that poverty was not a self-evident category. Instead, poverty, and, by extension, the position of the poor, were conceptualized within a rapidly changing social environment and informed the very process of identity making of the rising middle classes, as well as the centralizing aspirations of Ottoman bureaucracy. The discourse on poverty and the poor became one of the major means that enabled individual agents to address the issue of change. It was used as a central metaphor for change, rather than as an "objective" or measurable social situation. On the other hand, poverty and the poor became "visible" in relation to two contemporary, contradictory discourses, namely the medical and the "social." The medical discourse defined the poor as the most vulnerable stratum of society, and poverty as a condition threatening the well being of the general population. "Social" discourse conceptualized poverty in terms of its presumed "moral qualities" associated with the absence of the work ethic, discipline and self-improvement. These discourses addressed the literate and socially ambitious middle classes, rather than the poor themselves. But they also informed philanthropic activity and the making of philanthropic institutions and, to that extent, actively fostered change, and not simply reflected it. My presentation focuses on the Christian Orthodox and Greek speaking communities of Istanbul and Smyrna, in a comparative perspective.
Haris Exertzoglou graduated from the Department of Economics of the University of Athens in 1981. He continued his studies at the University of London where he received his Ph.D. from King's College in 1986. His dissertation was entitled "Greek banking in Constantinople, 1850-1881." He has been a faculty member in the Department of Social Anthropology and History of the University of the Aegean since 1989, teaching courses on modern Balkan and late Ottoman history. He has written two books and several articles on different aspects of the social and economic life of Christian Orthodox populations in the Ottoman Empire. His current research examines national commemorations in modern Greece as specific and meaningful civil rites, which were responsible, among other factors, for the shaping and reproduction of Greek national identity. [Last Updated 2004]