Summary of discussions

GREEK STUDIES MEETING

MARCH 6-7

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS

 

MAIN POINTS OF DISCUSSIONS

 TEACHING

  • Study-in-Greece programs vital; framed as part of a push for greater internationalization
  • Need for joint programs-“virtual” classes, share teaching resources and specializations
  • Platforms broad enough to draw as many students as possible
  • Be aware of shifting demographics from heritage to non-heritage students
  • Push to recruit majors from other fields, such as social work or medical school, b/c Greek can be seen as multi-cultural program
  • Strategies for drawing students: small classes, personalized attention, close contact
  • Create a consortium for graduate programs with formal collaboration; connect programs that can sustain M.A. but not Ph.D. to other schools with complementary resources

  EXTERNAL FUNDING

  • Incentives: naming buildings, centers, collections
  • Foundations get frustrated with constant need for support, which means that funding requests should be targeted and have a longer-lasting impact
  • Foundations fear that endowed positions can go wrong – can there be mechanisms that can counteract these fears and reservations?
  • Consulates can help raise interest and establish networks, bring institutions together for big events

  GREEK STUDIES IN TODAY’S WORLD

  • Need to be versatile
  • Stay current and trendy/rebrand
  • Rebrand for advertising and marketing:
  • Need for constant update
  • Need to relate Greece to today’s headlines and ride the wave of current events
    • Turn negative publicity into positive
    • Greece and Europe at a crossroads; compare to social contract like in US
    • get away from stereotypes, present the crisis in historical context; events (example: Mazower’s op-ed in the NY Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/opinion/30mazower.html?_r=0]
    • bring attention to economists, politicians, journalists, media
    • Greek existential crisis of modernity: frame it in parameters of modernity and establish pattern of history
    • What is the difference of corruption and constituent services?
  • Increase people’s interest, “Why?”– make the public care (average person); make opinion makers care;
  • Take advantage of new social media- boost digital footprint
  • Don’t argue for Greek exceptionalism
  • Point out the scapegoating of Greece, but make sure to appear not to absolve Greece of wrong-doing
  • Take public into account without lowering academic standards; make more aware of public perception
  • Establish “ownership” of Greece in the news
  • Example: Ferguson (called in American Historians); Selma movie (called in civil rights historians). Greek crisis: WE should be at that table
  • Impress Greece’s geopolitical role (explosion in interest in Arabic culture because of critical role in geopolitical events); even though Greece is crucial, it’s treated in a colonial way
  • Debates are in the hands of people who have other agendas (people are at the mercy of what they read)
  • how many know that even the Greek state started on a loan?
  • Greece singled out on a global catastrophe that was started by Wall Street; credit crisis, not debt crisis; structural factors of global economy, why systemic
  • Superficiality of media
  • Do not understand Greek culture or Greek history
  • Imperative to engage in this effort because we have been absent
  • Employ/take advantage of vocabulary that is active right now and that audiences recognize

 GROWTH STRATEGIES/COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVES

  • Collaboration among programs
  • Teaching: cross-list courses, share virtual classrooms
  • participate in TG’s Digital Map of the Greek World
  • also explore possibilities for cosponsoring speakers from Greece, conferences, symposia on a specific theme
  • Importance of training successors
  • Language down, need to incorporate Greek Studies into History, Classics, and other programs
  • We are moving away from national state paradigm, so Modern Greek issues need to be placed in a wider (European or global) framework
  • Keeping in mind the idiosyncracies of various Greek communities in the country, there is a need to build bridges through outreach programs; explore pros and cons of providing major community organizations some kind of institutional affiliation?

PROPOSALS FOR FURTHER ACTION

1) Network of Greek Chairs and Programs.   Annual meetings alternating between MGSA (more formal, larger groups) and homes of Chairs/Programs  (informal, smaller groups).  This has the advantage of being comprehensive and not leaving people and programs out, but also provides the option of being more active in this network: a Chair/Program hosts the meeting and those who want to participate send a representative using their own funding.

2) Joint programs

a) co-sponsor and share expenses of bringing speakers from Greece

b) cross-list courses that complement each other’s specialties.

c) co-organize conferences

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