Skip over navigation

2013 Global Seminars

Pile of bousouki in Athens, Greece  Paradise  Acropolis theater  Greek tavern, Athens, Greece  Parthenon Without Scaffolds  The Theater of Herod Atticus

Pluralism and the Body Politic in Greece

thrace, greece, june 10 - july 19

"Pluralism and the Body Politic in Greece" will be taught in Thrace, Greece, from June 10 to July 19. It is led by Elizabeth Davis, assistant professor of anthropology and Richard Stockton Bicentennial Preceptor at Princeton University; and Olga Demetriou PRIO Cyprus Center and the University of Nicosia.

The question of immigration and its relationship to democracy, economic crisis, and political violence in Europe has become a matter of urgency today. Greece stands at the center of these questions. Yet Greece has a long history of pluralism—that is, of incorporating many cultural, linguistic, and religious communities into the state, society, and economy. This seminar explores pluralism in Greece, from minority governance in the Ottoman Empire to modern European multiculturalism. Through ethnographies, historical works, and films,students will consider how Greek governments and peoples have faced problems of cultural, linguistic, and religious difference within and outside the borders of the nation. How have tolerance and discrimination alike been promoted in state policies? How have conflicts over minority rights, immigration, labor, citizenship, marriage, property, and language been addressed by teachers, doctors, community leaders, employers, courts, and police? The seminar will focus on three aspects of state government—health care, education, and welfare—which illuminate the complex boundaries of identity, community, and polity in Greece.

The region of Thrace is a uniquely rich site for these explorations, given its historically large minority populations of Jews and Muslims and its location between the borders of Bulgaria and Turkey. In this pluralistic space, seminar students will examine several periods of social change in Greece, tracing the constitution of the body politic through conflict and conciliation among “mainstream” and “other” social groups.Hosted in the city of Xanthi, the seminar will include multiday trips to Istanbul, Thessaloniki, and the Rhodope mountains, as well as day trips to Komotini and Alexandroupolis. Students will take daily instruction in modern Greek.

This course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and is open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Admission is by application and an interview.

The course syllabus will be posted as soon as it is available.


The Global Seminar in Greece is cosponsored by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies.

Throughout the Aspire campaign a number of alumni and friends generously supported the Global Seminars.