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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nektaria Klapaki
HSTEU 490
Seattle Campus

Topics in European History

Examines special topics in European history.

Class description

What are the markers of the Hellenic identity in the archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods? How did the Hellenic identity evolve, and what forms did it take, during the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods? When did the modern Greeks begin to regard themselves as heirs to the Classical heritage? Did the European Philhellenes play a role in this development? Did the modern Greeks invariably employ the denomination ‘Hellenes’ (¸ëëçíåò) to identify themselves, or did they also use other denominations? What was ‘The Great Idea’, and what purposes did it serve in the context of Greek nationalism? Did the University of Athens play a role in the process of Greek nation-building? Was the Acropolis connected with this process? How was the Hellenic identity impacted in the 1980s by the entry of Greece into the European Community (now European Union), and in the 1990s by the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Balkans? Has the Greek cinema played a role in the shaping of the Hellenic identity? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this class, which is an interdisciplinary exploration of the Hellenic identity from antiquity to modernity, and of the different ways in which it has been invented, constructed, and deconstructed, by Greeks and non-Greeks alike, through paradigms of cultural continuity and historical rupture. Literary and non literary texts, collective attitudes and mentalities, material cultural products, such as architectural monuments, paintings, photographs, and films, are taken into account to illustrate the ever-shifting, and multifaceted Hellenic identity.

Student learning goals

In this class students will get the opportunity to familiarize themselves with various issues regarding identity through discussions about the formation of the Hellenic identity.

You will learn about the Hellenic continuum, the distinctive position of Greece between East and West, the geographic dispersion of the Hellenes.

You will discover that the formation of the Hellenic identity took place through a tripartite dialogue among Greek antiquity, modern Greece and the modern West, and that Hellenism became a topos around which different forces (e.g. Orthodoxy, nationalism) and discourses (e.g. Enlightenment, Romantic Philhellenism) competed for supremacy.

Students will also get the chance to learn about contemporary debates regarding the formation of the Hellenic identity.

Finally, you will become skilled at thinking critically about the various ways in which identities are constructed and negotiated, as well as about the latent forces underlying their formation.

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion

Recommended preparation

Reading material will be available to students during the lectures. Any additional materials will be announced in class.

Class assignments and grading

•Participation and attendance: 15% •Weekly, short written assignments: 20% •One short mid-term paper: 25% (ca. 5-7 pp.) •One final paper: 40% (ca. 10-14 pp.)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Nektaria Klapaki
Date: 10/01/2010