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Athens - November 2023

Co-organised with the Finnish Institute at Athens in conjunction with the ‘Other Philhellenisms’ project run by Director Petra Pakkanen, the Athens workshop will be convened a year after the bicentenary of the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821 and during the centenary of the 1922-1924 expulsion of Greek Christian populations from Asia Minor. Multiple and often conflicting characterisations of what is ‘Greek’ were central to both historical milestones. Until recently, in European and American institutions the study of Greek culture and its modern ‘reception’ has tended to skip over the Byzantine and especially the Ottoman period. This workshop aims to set in conversation scholars whose research sheds new light on the later Ottoman inheritance in the former Byzantine sphere, highlighting, for example, the role played by a Greek historian of Istanbul or an Ottoman antiquarian from the Morea. We ask historians, art historians and archaeologists to discuss examples from their research where conventional cultural and religious labels are insufficient analytical tools. Participants will reassess to what extent terms such as ‘Ottoman’ and ‘Hellenic’ can or cannot articulate the complex identities a new generation of scholars is studying across the Greater Aegean region, from the Morea and the Balkans to Anatolia.

The focus will be especially on material culture, eye-witness experience as well as new archival documentation, asking for whom and in which contexts questions of regional, cultural and religious identity arose. The foreign institutes in Athens have been a vital part of the research culture for Hellenists globally. By holding this workshop in Athens with the participation of colleagues from Greek and Turkish institutions, and in collaboration with the Finnish Institute of Athens, the Cambridge-Stockholm collaboration taps into the dynamic research culture in Greece and Turkey today that is expanding our knowledge of the Ottoman and post-independence Hellenic worlds.

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