The Greeks: glorified and exalted throughout history as the progenitors of Western philosophy and political thought, remain today either impugned or celebrated, and thus continue to form the basis of thought and action in human affairs. But what of Greece, the land itself? The very thought of Greece conjures up a heady mixture of diverse images: sugar-cube churches with bright blue domes, deplorable conditions in refugee camps, laurel wreaths and togas at Olympia, anti-austerity protestors clashing with riot-police, amidst a cultural landscape that invokes the legacy of human civilization. Greece’s past embodies the duelling impulses of Dionysus and Apollo, and the world’s enduring gratitude stems from acknowledging that in facing adversity, the Greeks have cultivated some of the most valued and most repudiated ideas of humanity: Democracy and slavery, art and empire, athleticism and war. For thousands of years, the Hellenes have taken the rest of the world on an extraordinary odyssey and along the way given us the conceptual language of critique so that we may exercise the reasoned self-reflexivity needed for meaningful social and political change.
With the hustle and bustle of contemporary life, however, few of us have a free moment to listen to the voice of Nana Mouskouri or read the books of Nikos Kazantzakis, let alone study the astronomy of Hypatia or meta-theorize the comedies of Aristophanes. From Agamemnon to Zorba, from Antigone to Zeus, we know the Greeks have left their lasting legacy, but without making a point of learning more about Hellenistic culture, we miss the opportunity to reconnect with the history of thought. This is a call for those who wish to make time for a careful reading, and rethinking of the origin of our ideas and values; to gather together and discuss the ways in which the Greeks continue to influence our present and inform our future.
This Symposium on The Greeks in Paros, Greece, is an international, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary event whose aim is to bring together people from a variety of fields to explore and examine the relevance of the Greeks today from artistic, cinematic, ethical, literary, political, philosophical, social and religious perspectives. We invite academics, scholars, creators, performers and historians, artists and archaeologists, poets and economists to contribute their knowledge of all things Greek.
Enlighten your fellow Symposiasts about the UN’s responsibility to displaced people on Lesvos, or the movement to repatriate the Parthenon Marbles. Tell us what you know about the gods of Mount Olympus, currency of Byzantium, career of Melina Mercouri, or diet of Ikarian octogenarians. Challenge us with questions like: “Did Aristotle of 384 BC have a last name?” “Did Aristotle of the 1960s have a pre-nup agreement?” Whether your journey takes us to Nazi-occupied Kalavryta, the cosmos of Anaximander, or the graffiti-covered metro stops of Athens, this is the right forum for your work. Together, amidst panoramic views of beautiful Paros, we are bound to elevate our perspective and learn from each other in the style of the classical symposium.