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LITR S-107 Study Abroad in Greece: Cross-Cultural Contact Between East and West from Ancient Times to the Present (32256),Focusing on the eastern Mediterranean, this course undertakes a diachronic examination of models of empire (Athenian, Byzantine, Ottoman), concluding with questions of nineteenth-century European and modern colonialism and postcolonialism. Particular emphasis is paid to legacies of Hellenism, and to the challenges and possibilities of cross-cultural interaction. The aim is to expose students to historical, philosophical, literary, and political models for studying this interaction.Now in its tenth year, the 5-week course consists of 8 interrelated seminars. Each week-long seminar meets daily (Monday through Thursday), for a total of four 2-hour periods. Seminars run in pairs over the first 4 weeks of the course; students write 2 short response papers (2 pages) per week. The fifth week is devoted to the writing of the final 10-page paper. Homer as a “Spokesman” for the Athenian Empire (Gregory Nagy)The earliest form of the Athenian empire—the Delian League—was considered an expression of Ionian identity. This identity, once centered on the sacred island of Delos, was modified when the treasury of the Delian League was transferred from Delos to Athens, sometime around the middle of the fifth century BC. In terms of this transfer, the Ionian identity of the empire could be maintained and even reaffirmed most consistently on the basis of the idea that Athens is the mother city, or metropolis, of all Ionian cities.A spokesman for the ideological world of the Delian League—and for the political reality of the Athenian empire—was Homer himself, figured as a universal poet and educator. This Homer was an imperial Homer, ideologized as koinos (common) to all Hellenes—at least, to all Hellenes in the Athenian empire. The status of Homer as the koinos polites (common citizen) of all Ionian cities is linked to his central role in the pan-Ionian festival of the Delia. That festival— as we know independently from Thucydides—was reshaped in the late fifth century by the Athenian statesman Nikias, who sought to link the myths and rituals of the pan-Ionian Delia with the cultural and political agenda of the Delian League (that is, of the Athenian empire).In this seminar, I offer an analysis of the pan-Ionian festival of the Delia, focusing on the acknowledged role of Homer as the spokesman for the Delia and, by extension, for the Delian League. I then compare the pan-Hellenic festival of the Olympic contests, held in Olympia. Students are guided through a set of relevant readings in translation of selected passages taken from Homeric poetry, and the lives of Homer, Thucydides, and Plato.The Ottoman Empire: Legitimacy and Representation (Dimitris Kastritsis)In the classical Ottoman Empire, sultanic power was expressed among in areas such as art, literature, diplomacy, and the functioning of government itself. This seminar aims to introduce students to the history of the Ottoman Empire and its legitimizing ideology as it developed from the mid-fourteenth to the late sixteenth century—the age of Süleyman the Magnificent.By examining a variety of textual and visual sources, including chronicles in translation and visual representations of mosques and of the sultan's palace of Topkapi, we try to gain a basic understanding of the structure and functioning of the classical Ottoman state. In the process, we touch upon more general problems of textual and historical analysis, such as the advantages and limitations of a structuralist approach.Modern Legacies of Classical Sculpture (Yota Batsaki)The seminar begins with an introduction to the function, techniques, and subjects of classical Greek sculpture, paying attention to its ideological, ritual, and imperial contexts. It then considers the aesthetic impact of the 2 important periods of archaeological rediscovery in the Renaissance and the eighteenth century. We concentrate on the theorization of classical sculpture in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, across the writings of Winckelmann, Lessing, Herder, Hegel, and Pater.These theorists put forward a paradoxical evaluation of ancient sculpture as a synecdoche for classical excellence, but also as an anachronistic medium unable to capture the interiority, self-consciousness, and temporality crucial to modernity. At the same time, competition over prestigious collections of classical sculpture renders it an outstanding form of imperial import.We conclude by examining the trope of the classical statue in literary works by Keats, Mérimée, James, Hawthorne, and Seferis, to understand why modern texts so often construct their modernity by contrast to the classical.
In addition to the program fee, students are responsible for: