The Modern Greek Studies Association Symposium is considered to be one of the world’s most pre-eminent international conferences on Greece and is held every two years, organized by the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) at locations across North America. This year marks the 27th symposium and it was held at York University Keele campus for the first time and in Toronto only for the second. An international cohort of accomplished scholars from many disciplines in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, Film and Media Studies attended the conference. As has been the case in the last few Symposia, History is prominently featured, not least because of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution and the centennial from the Asia Minor Catastrophe. More than 120 participants came to Toronto and York from the United States, Greece, the U.K., and even Australia.
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Department of History Professor Sakis Gekas, who is the Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair of Modern Greek History at York University, led the planning and organizational efforts to bring this pivotal event to the University. A full program can be viewed at https://mgsasymposium.org/. Special thanks to the major sponsors of the event besides the MGSA, the Hellenic Heritage Foundation, the Hellenic Canadian Academic Association of Ontario, York University Faculty of LA&PS, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, the York University Libraries, and individual sponsors such as the Mirkopoulos Family, donations in the memory of George Pagidas, among many others.
The event was open to academics, experienced and novice, from many disciplines. The range of topics explored during the symposium has evolved over the years and represents the growth and diversity of Modern Greek Studies. The human and social sciences, the arts and professional schools were well represented in the proceedings. Many of the papers presented at this year’s symposium will be published in the Journal of Modern Greek Studies, either individually or as entire panels.
In addition to rich schedule of presentations and papers, this event also featured musical performance by Kune, Toronto’s global orchestra, Greek cuisine, an intriguing keynote address and other cultural offerings.
The Modern Greek Studies Association Symposium featured a keynote address delivered by Christina Koulouri, professor of modern and contemporary history and the Rector of Panteion University of Political and Social Sciences, located in Athens, Greece. Koulouri’s lecture was titled, “Greek Centennials: Commemorating Victories and Defeats.” The keynote lecture took place on Oct. 14, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre, main floor, Accolade East Building Keele Campus and was sponsored by the Hellenic Canadian Academic Association of Ontario. The talk was followed by reception and the musical concert by Kune, one of Toronto’s most exciting and certainly the city’s most global orchestra, comprised of eleven musicians from various countries.
An accomplished scholar, Prof. Koulouri studied at the University of Athens (Department of History and Archaeology), the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne where she also received her PhD. She was Visiting Research Fellow at Université de Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne (2010), Princeton University (2017) and the University of Regensburg (2019). She was awarded with the Nikos Svoronos Prize (1993), the Delphi Prize (2012), and the Vikelas Plaque (2018). Koulouri is the author of several books and articles on the teaching of history, the history of historiography, national identity, memory, public history, and the history of sports and the Olympic Games. Her last book received the National Essay Prize in Greece and was translated in English and is titled Historical Memory in Greece, 1821-1930. Performing the Past in the Present (Routledge 2022).
Among the cohort of accomplished academics presenting at the symposium were a number of York University scholars.
Presenting from York University at the event were:
Alexander Harmantas, Graduate Student in History – Historical and Contemporary Interactions between Aromanian and Greek Identity, 19th c. – Present
Iason-Nikolaos Rodopoulos, Graduate Student in History – The Marshall Plan and Greek Industry: The Financing of Peiraiki-Patraiki and Titan Cement
Sakis Gekas, Assoc. Professor & HHF Chair – moderator, The Greek Experience in Canada
Angelo Laskaris, Graduate Student in History – Childhood Narratives of Greek Canadians from the 1940s: Trauma and Resilience
Alexandros Balasis, Graduate Student in History – Greek Migration to Canada During the 1950s and 1960s: The Canadian and Greek Migration Policies and the Immigrants’ Place Within Them
Theodore Xenophontos, Graduate Student in Film and Media Studies – Film as History: Struggling to Create a Community-Based Audiovisual Archive Amidst a Pandemic
Othon Alexandrakis, Assoc. Professor – moderator, Contours of Memory and Knowledge
Efrosyni Rantou, Graduate Student in Anthropology – Subterranean Politics and Political Subjectivities: The Case of the Kassandra Mines in North Greece
To learn more about the work of the Modern Greek Studies Association, visit https://mgsa.org/.