"Dressing Clio: Parades and Revivals in Greece (19th-20th c.)" by Christina Koulouri (Panteion University)


Past Event

"Dressing Clio: Parades and Revivals in Greece (19th-20th c.)" by Christina Koulouri (Panteion University)

December 5, 2017
6:10 PM - 7:40 PM
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Hamilton 503, 1130 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10027

Discussant: Mark Mazower
University Seminar in Modern Greek

This paper will describe an ongoing project that investigates different aspects of historical culture in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing mainly on the visualization and performance of the past through a wide range of commemorative acts. From historical processions in German towns to British pageants, and from the panorama fad to the tableaux vivants, the past was re-enacted, performed and consumed in the public space. It was used to serve political agendas, particularly in order to foster national identity and secure social cohesion, but at the same time it offered entertainment and informed leisure activities. In parallel with the “professionalization” of the discipline of history, tied to academic specialization, a greater public interest in history arose, promoted by large numbers of civic and private organizations. The urban space became the theatre of civic rituals commemorating past events, where traditional processions, which initially had religious relevance but were also included in royal ceremonies, were gradually transformed into increasingly formalized parades, reaching their “golden age” in the interwar period. We will examine Greece as a case study to discuss questions of cultural memory, cultural practices, and cultural transfers in the context of social changes brought by urbanization, voluntary associations, new communication media, compulsory military service, and public education. We will specifically use examples of visualization, re-enactment and revival of ancient and modern pasts (e.g. the Olympic Games, Delphi Festivals, the Greek War of Independence, King Otto and Queen Amalia) in order to discuss the quest for “authenticity” that pervaded Greek society, as it did the rest of Europe.