[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Lecture: December 7, 2011

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Tue Nov 29 14:04:05 PST 2011


Center for Hellenic Studies


Visualising Warrior-Shepherds:

Photography, Power and Imagination in Sphakia, Crete

Konstantinos Kalantzis

kkalantz at princeton.edu<mailto:kkalantz at princeton.edu>

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Carol Greenhouse, Anthropology

The Sphakia region of western highland Crete evokes a powerful and ambiguous "myth" within the national and international context. The "myth" entails notions of ruggedness and authenticity making incredible demands on Sphakians to be and appear "traditional." The myth also hinges on the visual for its articulation and dissemination (the archetypical black-wearing, bearded male figure). At the same time, appearance is a matter of tremendous importance in Sphakia, linked to questions of social worth and native engagements with "tradition". The discussion of these issues acquires added complexity as the national interest in Crete has reached a high point. This is produced by and reflected in various commercial endeavors (ranging from television shows about Crete to the opening of restaurants of Cretan cuisine in Athens), but also engagements around Crete as a potential agent of resistant Greek nativism against what is perceived as (European) tutelary domination, in the context of the Greek economic "crisis." The talk will address questions of cultural domination and hegemony within an "exoticised" society from the scope of the visual as the primary sphere of struggle and experience. The visual here refers both to commercial and indigenous imagery but also the wider embodied realm of "appearances". The presentation explores the subjectifications, embodiments, meanings and cultural productivities that open up for locals and spectators of the region, within the stereotypes and "myths" about Sphakia. It develops models to complicate the dominant theoretical positions on hegemony and account for the dynamics emerging within the discussed context.

Konstantinos Kalantzis studied History and Archaeology at the University of Crete and Visual Anthropology at the University of Oxford (M.Sc.) and University College London (Ph.D., 2010). His doctoral thesis entitled "Visualising Identity on the Margins of Europe: Photography and the Geographies of Imagination in Sphakia, Crete" focused on the Sphakia region of highland western Crete and approached questions of power and imagination through a study of the visual as a primary field of social engagement, struggle and experience. Since 2008 he also works as an ethnographer in two projects that involve archaeological surveys/excavations in the island of Therasia and the village of Neo Monastiri in mainland Greece. These projects explore local notions of history and place, indigenous archaeological practices, landscape and social aesthetics. His main research interests include: aesthetics and ideology, landscape, postcolonial and critical theory, visual and material culture.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

6:00 p.m.

Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Cosponsored by the Department of Anthropology

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