Fall 2021 Course Offerings

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Elementary Modern Greek I, Nikolas P. Kakkoufa
GRKM UN1101
M/W 12:10pm-2:00pm


This is the first semester of a year-long course designed for students wishing to learn Greek as it is written and spoken in Greece today. As well as learning the skills necessary to read texts of moderate difficulty and converse on a wide range of topics, students explore Modern Greece's cultural landscape from "parea" to poetry to politics. Special attention will be paid to Greek New York. How do "our", "American", "Greek-American" definitions of language and culture differ from "their", "Greek" ones?

Intermediate Modern Greek I, Chrysanthe Filippardos
GRKM UN2101
M/W, 6:10pm-8:00pm


This course is designed for students who are already familiar with the basic grammar and syntax of modern Greek language and can communicate at an elementary level. Using films, newspapers, and popular songs, students engage the finer points of Greek grammar and syntax and enrich their vocabulary. Emphasis is given to writing, whether in the form of film and book reviews or essays on particular topics taken from a selection of second-year textbooks.

Greece Today: Language, Literature, and Culture (in Greek), Nikolas P. Kakkoufa
GRKM UN3003
M/W, 2:10-3:25pm


This course builds on the elements of the language acquired in GRKM1101 through 2102, but new students may place into it, after special arrangement with the instructor. It introduces the students to a number of authentic multi-modal materials drawn from a range of sources which include films, literary texts, media, music etc. in order to better understand Greece’s current cultural, socioeconomic, and political landscape. In doing so, it aims to foster transcultural understanding and inter-cultural competence, while further developing the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Topics of discussion include language, gender equality, youth unemployment, education, queer identities, refugees, and the multi-layered aspects of the crisis.

Thessaloniki Down the Ages, Paraskevi Martzavou
CSGM UN3567
W, 4:10pm-6:00pm


This course will explore the fascinatingly layered and multicultural history of Thessaloniki, the great city of Northern Greece and the Balkans. We will examine texts, archaeological evidence, literature, songs, and movies and in general the materialities of the city. We will examine this material from the 6th century BCE down to the the 21st cent. CE. We will notably think about the problems of history, identity, and cultural interaction in reaction to recent work such as Mark Mazower’s well known Salonica, City of Ghosts [2004]. This course fulfills the global core requirement.

Writing Resistance, Katerina Stefatos
CLGM UN3800
T, 2:10pm-4:00pm


Set within a transnational and transdisciplinary feminist framework, Writing Resistance will unfold and examine the ways traumatic, lived experiences of gender and structural violence, systematic oppression and precarity, incarceration, racism, and colonialism, have been silenced or submerged in canonical writing and official history making. As an antidote, we will attempt a “queering” of this patriarchal and “colonial archive” (Stoler), by shedding light and focusing on diverse forms of writing, autobiographies and biomythographies, poetry and fiction, and theoretical readings that are either produced by or centered on the lived experiences, psyches and bodies, of women, people of color, dissidents and incarcerated people, queer, transgender, and non-binary individuals, refugees and other historically and systematically marginalized voices and identities. Within the context of what has often been approached as “minor literature” (Deleuze and Guattari), the fragmented truths, interrupted stories, and the “descent to the everyday” (Das), will reveal not only traumas, suffering, and alienation, but also what Veena Das approaches as “poisonous knowledge,” where the gendered, queer, racialized, and political body, solidarity, and silence, return as resistance, reclaiming voices, visibility, and authorship.

Topics through Greek Film, Argyro Nicolaou 
GRKM GU4135
M, 4:10pm-6:00pm


This course explores issues of memory and trauma, public history and testimony, colonialism and biopolitics, neoliberalism and governmentality, and crisis and kinship, all through the medium of Greek film. It brings the Greek cinema canon (Angelopoulos, Cacoyannis, Gavras, Koundouros, et al.) into conversation with the work of contemporary artists, ethnographers, documentary filmmakers, and the recent “weird wave” and asks: what kind of lens does film offer onto the study of a society’s history and contemporary predicament? The viewing and discussion of films is facilitated through a consideration of a wide range of materials, including travelogues, criticism, archival footage, and interviews with directors. The course does not assume any background knowledge and all films will have English subtitles. An additional 1-credit bilingual option (meeting once per week at a time TBD) is offered for students who wish to read, view, and discuss materials in Greek.

Multilingual America: Translation, Migration, Gender, Karen Van Dyck
CLGM GU4600, cross-listed with IRWGS and American Studies
T, 6:10pm-8:00pm


This course introduces students to the rich tradition of literature about and by Greeks in America over the past two centuries exploring questions of multilingualism, translation, migration and gender with particular attention to the look and sound of different alphabets and foreign accents – “It’s all Greek to me!” To what extent can migration be understood as translation and vice versa? How might debates in Diaspora and Translation Studies inform each other and how might both, in turn, elucidate the writing of and about Greeks and other ethnic minorities, especially women? Authors include Olga Broumas, Elia Kazan, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Ellery Queen, Eleni Sikelianos, Irini Spanidou, and Thanasis Valtinos as well as performance artists such as Diamanda Galás. Theoretical and comparative texts include works by Walter Benjamin, Rey Chow, Jacques Derrida, Franz Kafka, Toni Morrison, and Lawrence Venuti, as well as films such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant and The Wizard of Oz. No knowledge of Greek is necessary, although an extra-credit directed reading is open to those wishing to read texts in Greek.

The Greek Revolution of 1821 and its Legacies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Primary Sources, Nikolas P. Kakkoufa
GRKM 4821
M, 4:10pm-6:00pm


2021 marks the bicentenary of the Greek uprising against the Ottoman Empire—an event that captured European and American popular imagination and led to the founding of the Greek nation. The Greek Revolution became a site for enduring discussion of much larger questions about the international order, democracy, empire, nationalism, collective rights, slavery, monumentality, and the contemporary place of classical Hellas. In this seminar Hellenic Studies faculty and guest speakers take 1821 and its enduring legacies as a vantage point to examine the use of primary sources (including texts, songs, paintings, and films) across different disciplines (history, anthropology, comparative literature, architecture, political science, and queer studies), and reflect on the nature of evidence and how it features in public discourse and contemporary cultural politics. Lectures by Dimitris Antoniou, Stathis Gourgouris, Nikolas P. Kakkoufa, Paraskevi Martzavou, Mark Mazower, Neni Panourgiá, Karen Van Dyck, Konstantina Zanou, and others.

Cross-listed courses

Mobility and Enclosure, Statelessness and Democracy, Stathis Gourgouris
CPLS4095GU, cross-listed with ICLS
W, 2:10pm-4:00pm

The volume and intensity of human mobility from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe remains dramatically increased nowadays, despite the overall restrictions in mobility imposed by the pandemic conditions worldwide. During the last decade refugee statelessness has evolved into as a quasi-permanent liminal condition of being within the political body of western societies, especially in so called border countries of the European periphery. The continuous expansion and multiplication of camps and hot-spots in countries such as Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, etc. has created different states of existence within the national territories, raising a wide range of issues that concern statehood, political rights, the right to equal treatment and access to public goods (i.e., health, education, safety, representation etc.), which concern the core social and political demands of a democratic polity.

However, the antinomies and aporias related to refugee statelessness within the nation state are nowadays further aggravated by the pandemic conditions of the last two years. The pandemic has opened up a new space of unprecedented state intervention in the public and private lives of citizens, while reconfiguring the meaning of globalization. Questions of democracy, statehood and statelessness, mobility, access, restriction and enclosure are now re-conditioned under the two-fold historical contingency of refugee life and citizen life in a pandemic.

In this course we address these emerging issues through theoretical, literary, legal, historical texts that highlight how long established social and political problems, imbedded in existing structures since the late 20th century, are currently intrinsically re-conditioned. Our intention is to serve a pedagogy that is alert to how the present time affects the social and intellectual life of people across borders and cultures, while retaining deep historical learning that establishes connections between radical new occurrences (such as the Covid pandemic or the refugee problem in the Mediterranean) and long term hard structural patterns. 

Directed Readings, Nikolas P. Kakkoufa
GRKM UN3997 01
Directed Readings, Karen Van Dyck
GRKM UN3997 03
Directed Readings, Stathis Gourgouris
GRKM UN3997 04
Directed Readings, Paraskevi Martzavou
GRKM UN3997 05
Senior Research Seminar
GRKM UN3998 01
Supervised Independent Research, Nikolas P. Kakkoufa
GRKM GU4460 01
Supervised Independent Research, Karen Van Dyck
GRKM GU4460 03
Supervised Independent Research, Stathis Gourgouris
GRKM GU4460 04
Supervised Independent Research, Paraskevi Martzavou
GRKM GU4460 05

Public Hellenism, Dimitris Antoniou
GRKM GU4020
Method of Instruction: Online


This course invites students to explore the emerging field of public humanities, gain hands-on experience with its objectives, methods, and outcomes, and pursue their own independent projects that connect research on Greece with a broad public audience. The course is structured around: (1) a seminar in Hellenic Studies in which students are introduced to modern Greek history and culture through the study of texts, films, and cultural artifacts, (2) a workshop in which students are trained in the methods and tools of public-facing research (e.g., conducting oral histories, producing podcasts, curating online exhibitions), and (3) independent projects in which students work closely with Columbia faculty, fellows of the Institute for Ideas and Imagination, and public humanities partners in Greece (artists, curators, educators, and activists).

The Greek Revolution