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Washington and Lee University

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GREECE

A Nation and Its Ruins: Ancient Heritage and the Making of the Modern Nation-State

CLAS 287 or HIST 287

4 Credits - FDR HU

3 weeks in Greece

Professor Michael Laughy and Professor Matthew Gildner

This interdisciplinary course investigates the relationship between the production of archaeological knowledge and the memory, history, and identity of modern nation-states. This principle questions driving our exploration of this interdisciplinary topic are: Why do nations and nationalisms need tangible traces of the past? How is the material heritage of the distant past deployed by nations, and subgroups within a nation, to champion, erase, or refashion the past to serve the present? In what ways do the present hopes, aspirations, and anxieties of a people govern and shape the understanding and teaching of a people's distant past? How are ancient objects and monuments used for profits? This course is designed to be interdisciplinary, and draw students drawn from wide-ranging backgrounds, interests, and departments, including Classics, History, English, Journalism and Mass Communications, Politics, Religion, Economics, Art and Art History, and Sociology/Anthropology.

In Spring 2014, we will examine the case of Greece. With a rich heritage steeped in classical antiquity, Greece provides the most salient example of how the ancient past remains not just relevant, but absolutely central to modern constructions of nationalism. Classes, which will convene every weekday morning, will consist of a mix between lecture and discussion of the daily readings. In the afternoon, Professors Laughy and Gildner will lead excursions to archaeological sites and museums in Athens that complement the readings. An overnight trip to the Macedonian tombs at Vergina and a day trip to Sounion are also planned. Weekends are open for the students to explore Athens on their own, or for optional group trips outside of Athens led by Professors Laughy and Gildner, depending on student interest.

Dates:  April 21-27 on campus; Depart for Athens on April 27th. April 28-May 18 in Athens.

Program Fee (Paid to the University):  $3,400 inclusive of airfare, ground transportation and accommodation.

Estimated Additional Expenses:  $500 (meals) and pocket money.

Note: None of the activities on the trip require unusual, rigorous physical effort for completion of the required course components. It will involve much walking, however.

 


For further information contact Prof. Laughy or Prof. Gildner.