Organisers: Despina Lalaki (City University of New York – CUNY), Zinovia Lialiouti (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Nikos Vafeas (University of Crete), Ioannis Koubourlis (University of Crete)
States are embedded in cultural systems, they are “concept-dependent” entities while they also create concepts. In the case of Modern Greece, the state emerged at the intersection of interweaving narratives about western civilization and classical antiquity. In turn, as protector and treasurer of the cultural capital of the nation, the Greek state exerted a great deal of symbolic power, which it routinely exercises to consolidate its political power constructing in the process hegemonic identities. Yet state-building and the production of national ideology in Greece has never been a process confined to national boundaries, neither was this process completed during the nineteenth century: it is an evolving process shaped by transnational and national currents
Moreover, state formation is a dynamic phenomenon which involves the interaction of cultural, political, economic, and social networks. In Greece many of these networks revolve around the archaeological field and its institutions. The Greek Archaeological Service, the Archaeological Society and the Foreign Schools of Archaeology have served not merely as research centers and centers of education but also as central nodes in complex networks of cultural, economic, and political circles around which national and trans-national agents, foreign and national institutions organize and act. The rich archival collections housed in the above institutions serve as testimonies to this central role.
Capitalizing on the archival collections of the archaeological institutions in Greece, while also inviting researchers to engage with them, the conference aspires to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines and fields – social history, historical and cultural sociology, social anthropology, archaeology, urban studies and architecture, museum studies, geography, art history, literary studies, and education – who take a relational approach to engage with culture as a significant determinant of the state and the state as formative agent of culture to study the changing meanings attached to modern Greek identity. While antiquity may have a central place in this discussion it is not the only point of departure.