The reception of Classical antiquity by modern Greek society was subject to a complex historical process, now in need of rigorous reappraisal. Instead of merely importing older cultural genealogies from post-Enlightenment Europe, Greek intellectuals constructed their own readings of the past, based on the notion of an uninterrupted continuity in the history of the Hellenic nation.
Archaeology was called upon to perform a crucial role in forging a new identity for Greece based on the antiquity of Hellas. This idiosyncratic approach combined the rationality of Western episteme with the metaphysical certainties of Romanticism. Archaeology in twentieth-century Greece became therefore both an agent of intellectual advancement and a privileged participant in a heated debate on culture, heritage, and national identity, all projected against the inevitable backdrop of an unmediated past. Although this development was not peculiar to Greece, the Greek case constitutes an eloquent example of the way the vestiges of the past may be used to enhance the national imaginings, in a country whose antiquity is explicitly (if paradoxically) evoked as a proof of its modernity.
"A Singular Antiquity" is an attempt to investigate the ideological strategies, somewhat improvised yet at times quite effective, through which the materiality of Greek archaeology has been employed as the foundation for the metaphysics of Greekness. It brings together - for the first time on such a scale and with such breadth of coverage - archaeologists, historians, cultural anthropologists, as well as historians of literature, art, and architecture, in order to discuss the ways in which archaeology has established itself as an authoritative cultural agent in modern Greece. More than just a sidekick to nationalism (as an older, monolithic, approach would have it) archaeology in the twentieth century - the archaeologies practised and experienced by state authorities and private individuals, intellectuals and laymen alike - generates the Utopian promise of cultural emancipation in the face of an academic discipline which, quite surprisingly, breaks its modern matrix and transcends its historical boundaries.
Contents: - Mark Mazower: "Archaeology, nationalism and the land in modern Greece" - Michael Herzfeld: "Archaeological etymologies: monumentality and domesticity in twentieth-century Greece" - George Tolias: "National heritage and Greek revival: Ioannis Gennadios on the expatriated antiquities" - Andromache Gazi: "Artfully classified and appropriately placed: notes on the display of antiquities in early twentieth-century Greece" - Marlen Mouliou: "Museum representations of the classical past in post-war Greece: a critical analysis" - Niki Sakka: "The excavation of the Ancient Agora of Athens: the politics of commissioning and managing the project" - Daphne Voudouri: "Greek legislation concerning the international movement of antiquities and its ideological and political dimensions" - Delia Tzortzaki: "The chronotopes of the Hellenic past: virtuality, edutainment, ideology" - Vassilis Lambropoulos: "The rehearsal of antiquity in post-modern Greek fiction" - Kostas Kotsakis: "Paths to modernity: Dimitrios R. Theocharis and the post-war Greek prehistory" - Vangelis Karamanolakis: "University of Athens and archaeological studies: the contribution of archaeology to the creation of a national past (1911-1932)" - Dionysis Mourelatos: "The debate over Cretan icons in twentieth-century Greek historiography and their incorporation into the national narrative" - Olga Gratziou: "Venetian monuments in Crete: a controversial heritage" - Alexandra Bounia: "Ancient texts, classical archaeology and representation of the past: the development of a dialogue" - Vangelis Calotychos: "The dead hand of Philology and the archaeologies of reading in Greece" - Dimitris Plantzos: "Time and the Antique: linear causality and the Greek art narrative" - Yannis Hamilakis: "Decolonizing Greek archaeology: indigenous archaeologies, modernist archaeology and the post-colonial critique" - Dimitris Tziovas: "Reconfiguring the past: Antiquity and Greekness" - Angeliki Koufou: "The discourse on Hellenicity, historical continuity and the Greek Left" - Dora F. Markatou: "Archaeology and Greekness on the centenary celebrations of the Greek state" - Dimitris Damaskos: "The uses of Antiquity in photographs by Nelly: imported modernism and home-grown ancestor worship in inter-war Greece" - Elena Hamalidi: "Greek Antiquity and inter-war classicism in Greek Art: Modernism and tradition in the works and writings of Michalis Tombros and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika in the thirties" - Artemis Leontis: "An American in Paris, a Parsi in Athens" - Dimitris Fhilippides: "The phantom pf classicism in Greek architecture" - Maria Diamandi: "The archaeologist in contemporary Greek novel".
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