Syrimis, George george.syrimis at yale.edu
Tue Apr 1 12:03:14 PDT 2014

Monday, April 7, 4:30 pm ***PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE***

Dimitris Tziovas
Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham

"From Junta to Crisis: Greek Culture in Perspective"

A number of studies on post-1974 Greece have been published in recent years focusing on political, economic or institutional developments, but very little has been written about cultural developments in that period. Even those books, which include chapters or sections on culture, tend to offer surveys of specific areas rather than trying to capture and analyse more general cultural trends. The Greek crisis has prompted a re-examination of the political and cultural trends since 1974 in an attempt to rethink earlier cultural practices and answer questions such as: to what extent can a cultural approach help us understand the political and economic aspects of the crisis? Can we talk about the cultural origins of the Greek crisis and, if so, how far back can they be traced? This paper will contribute to this debate by offering a broad cultural perspective on developments in Greece from the fall of the junta in 1974 to the present crisis.

Luce Hall 202, 34 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven


Wednesday, April 16, 6:00 pm

Balkan Odyssey I: Underground
Directed by Emir Kusturica, 1995

An unpredictable black comedy with an epic scope, Emir Kusturica's highly acclaimed Underground takes a look at the modern history of Yugoslavia through the often absurd misadventures of two friends over several decades. The film begins in Belgrade in 1941, establishing the friendship between the gregarious Blacky and the more intellectual Marko during a drunken, late-night musical procession that establishes the riotous tone to follow. Fellow members of the Communist Party, the friends also share an involvement in shady business activities and an attraction for a beautiful actress. Soon, the chaos of World War II forces them to take refuge in an underground shelter with a variety of other townspeople. Years pass and the war ends, but Marko and the actress trick the others into believing that the war is still going on. Kusturica turns this inherently absurd premise into a vibrant portrait of the contradictory, foolish nature of war. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the film received great acclaim on the festival circuit but had a hard time securing a release in the United States. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

The film is 3 hours and 12 minutes with English subtitles

Luce Hall 202, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven

The film is screened in the context of the course "Cold War History and Culture in Europe and the Balkans."


Thursday, April 17, 4:30 PM

Nicos Christodoulakis
Athens University of Economics and Business and Hellenic Observatory, LSE

The Conflict Trap in the Greek Civil War 1946-1949: An Economic Approach

The talk provides a quantitative analysis of the armed confrontation that took place in Greece between the Communist Party and the Centre-Right Government during 1946-1949. Using monthly data for battle casualties a dynamic Lotka-Volterra framework is estimated, pointing to the existence of a conflict trap that explains the prolongation of the civil war and its dire consequences for the country. To examine the extent to which the confrontation was influenced by socio-economic factors, a regional analysis finds that political discontent was mainly correlated with pre-war grievances rather than class-structure, while the mobilization of guerilla forces was crucially affected by morphology and the local persecutions of political rivals. The economic cost of the conflict is estimated to be close to an annual GDP, and its effect to last for at least a decade, in line with similar findings in contemporary civil wars. The failure to prevent the conflict or stop its escalation is discussed together with some conclusions for the long term repercussions and the current social discontent in Greece.

William Harkness Hall, Room 211, 100 Wall street, New Haven


Monday, April 21, 6:00 pm

Balkan Odyssey II: Ulysses's Gaze
Directed by Theo Angelopoulos, 1995

Winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this drama centers on the Balkan conflict as viewed through the eyes of a filmmaker named A (Harvey Keitel). Director Theo Angelopoulos wrote the screenplay, drawing from personal experiences. A is a Greek émigré director who returns to his homeland after 35 years in the U.S., ostensibly to screen his latest film, which is so controversial that it attracts religious protests. In fact, A's real purpose is to search for three reels of undeveloped film that may be the first ever shot by pioneer Balkan filmmakers the Manakis brothers, who documented simple circa-1900 peasant life. A's Homeric journey includes flashbacks into past historical events. He travels by taxi to Albania, where he enlists the help of a film archivist (Maia Morgenstern, who plays all four female roles). She joins him on a train ride to Bucharest, Romania. An extensive flashback chronicles A's childhood under Communism in Bucharest. His next stop is Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, where he is directed to Sarajevo. Angelopoulos mixes scenes shot during the actual Balkan war with historic re-enactments and dreamscapes to examine the role of the artist in political upheaval. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

The film is 2 hours and 16 minutes with English subtitles

Luce Hall 202, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven

The film is screened in the context of the course "Cold War History and Culture in Europe and the Balkans."


Balkan Odyssey III

Tuesday, April 22, 4:30 pm

Vangelis Calotychos
Program in Hellenic Studies, Columbia University

The Balkan Prospect and the Greek Crisis (of the 1990s): Cultural Reflections

In 1989, the borders hitherto separating Greek culture and society from its contiguous Balkan polities came down, and Greeks had to reorient themselves toward their immediate neighbors and redefine their place within a 'new Europe' and a more fluid world order. Projecting the political foresight and mustering the modernizing policies to succeed in such an undertaking would be no small feat even at the best of times. However, little time elapsed before Greece and Europe were effectively held hostage to events in the Balkans--just at the time when both intended to serve as the region's welcoming hosts. Casting a glance back at this historical conjuncture and its aftermath--from a distinct vantage point, a Greek prospect of sorts--this talk reflects on cultural and theoretical study of the Balkans. How did one theorize the Balkans then and why? How do we imagine or reimagine it now?

Luce Hall 202, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven


Friday, April 25, 3:00 PM (time tentative)

Christian Populations in the Middle East since the Arab Spring

Panel discussion with

Stephen Davis, Yale University
Ellen Lust, Yale University
Christine M. Philiou, Columbia University
George Syrimis, Moderator, Yale University

Luce Hall Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven

Reception to follow in the Common room, Luce Hall

Organized by the Hellenic Studies Program, the Council on Middle East Studies, the Department of Religious Studies, the Yale Divinity School, and the Ottoman Studies Initiative with the support of the Order of AHEPA, Yankee District #7 and New Haven Chapter #98, The Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut, and Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Order of St. Andrew the Apostle

For more information about the Program's activities visit our website at http://www.yale.edu/macmillan/hsp . Please also visit our “Community Events” section for local activities. You can also find us on Facebook. Search for “Hellenic Studies Program, Yale University”   The activities of the Hellenic Studies Program are generously funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Hellenic Studies at Yale University.

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