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Yannis Tsarouchis, to Embody a Nation

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In partnership with Chicago’s National Hellenic Museum, Yannis Tsarouchis, to Embody a Nation brings together three scholars of Greece to explore the integration of  classical, Byzantine, and folk aesthetics into the new understanding of identity by the intellectuals of the Greek avant-gard. This re-defined period of modernism which came together after the national trauma of the Grecco-Turkish War in 1922, is often referred to as the Thirty’s Generation. Our panelists, Artemis Leontis, Professor of Modern Greek and Chair of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan; George Syrims, Director of Hellenic Studies Program at Yale University; and Sharon Gerstel, Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology at University of California, Los Angeles. Moderated by Kate Kelaidis, Resident Scholar at the National Hellenic Museum, join in discussion to unpack Tsarouchis’s ability to both embody and complicate the idea of ‘Greekness.’

About the Participants

Sharon E. J. Gerstel is professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology in the Department of Art History at UCLA. She serves as Director of the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and is the George P. Kolovos Family Centennial Term Chair in Hellenic Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of ritual and art in Byzantium. She is an accomplished author and a few of her books include Beholding the Sacred Mysteries (1999) and Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium: Art, Archaeology and Ethnography (2015), which was awarded the 2016 Runciman Prize by the Anglo-Hellenic League, the inaugural book prize by the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), and the Maria Theocharis Prize from the Christian Archaeological Society in Greece.

Artemis Leontis is professor of modern Greek and comparative literature and chair of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan. She has been supported in her research by fellowships from the NEH and the Institute for the Humanities at U Michigan. Her books include Topographies of Hellenism and the recent phanaomanal publication Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins featuring an indepth look at one of Tsarouchis’s most influential mentors.

George Syrimis is the Director of Hellenic Studies Program, Lecturer in Hellenic Studies and Comparative Literature at Yale University. His research interests include music and national identity, religion and literature, cultural studies, reception studies, and gender and sexuality. After completing his military service, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Cornell University where he completed his B.Sc. in Education in 1990. He subsequently pursued graduate work at Harvard University where he studied Modern Greek, Classical Greek and Modern Spanish literature. His dissertation on the poetics of C.P. Cavafy’s love poems was entitled “”Try to Guard Them, Poet”: Homoeroticism and the Poetics of Opacity in C. P. Cavafy.”

In Partnership with the National Hellenic Museum.

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