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Athens Now: Culture and Politics in the Urban Space

With a rich history and surrounding gorgeous landscapes, Athens is a favorite destination. This seminar in Athens ges beyond its beaity to focus on the city's contemporary cultural life through specific works in different media. Students will also explore museums, galleries and cultural centers, while meeting with key figures in Athenian cultural life. 

Athens, Greece: June 15 - July 28

Application Deadline: February 13, 2018

About the Seminar

This seminar explores contemporary Athens and its culture as a response to increasingly complex political and social dynamics and ultimately as a characteristic example of 21st century urban culture. Athens has long nourished the human imagination, usually as a center of the Classical world, or as a place where ancient ideals were revived in modern times. While Greece came to be identified with idyllic snapshots of islands and the sea, a potent new urban culture emerged in Athens in the 20th century. From 2008 and on, the financial, political, and social crisis, as well as, more recently, the refugee crisis, have radically transformed the city and the culture it produces. The course will identify the elements that have contributed to a renewed cultural scene, beyond the impact of the crisis on content of works alone. How have new local and global conditions affected the production and diffusion of culture? Why certain media have gained new traction? How venues and audiences have changed? This seminar will explore Athens’ contemporary cultural life through specific works in different media – literature, film, art, theater, graffiti, music – but also through institutions that manage and disseminate culture to audiences, both traditional ones – museums, cultural centers, galleries, journals – and new ones emerging from the current sociocultural landscape – collectives, cultural activists, squats, etc. In addition to theoretical readings about the city and its culture, a short historical overview will help students contextualize contemporary Athens. The coursework will be complemented by a series of meetings, discussions and workshops with key figures of Athenian cultural life.

Faculty Director

Effie Rentzou is the  Behrman Professor in the Humanities and an associate professor in French and Italian. She studies literature and its relation to other arts, with particular attention to the historical avant-garde movements and modernism. Her interests include poetics, the relation between image and text, social analysis of literature, politics and literature and the internationalization of the avant-garde. She iss currently working on a second book, tentatively titled Concepts of the World: Avant-garde and the Idea of the International. This project explores the conceptualization of the “world” in the work and activities of writers and artists within and around historical avant-garde movements – futurism, dada, and surrealism – during the period 1900-1940.  

Seminar Manager

Jayne Bialkowski can be reached at jayne@princeton.edu or by calling 609-258-2635.

Distribution Requirements

This seminar fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) and counts as an elective toward the certificate in Hellenic Studies.

Costs and Financial Aid

PIIRS Global Seminars cost between $6,000-8,000 but are generously subsidized. PIIRS provides generous funding to students admitted to the Global Seminars who receive term financial aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2016–17, specifically pages 1–2 and Table 3, and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information

To ensure a place in the seminar, a $500 nonrefundable deposit will be charged to participants’ accounts on April 1; the balance of the course fee will be charged to accounts on May 15.

NB: Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

Co-sponsored by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies and the Humanities Council.

PIIRS Global Seminars are made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.