News & Activities

Announcement of results regarding the Public Call for research proposals for the year 2019

The Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) is happy to announce the results of its Fourth Public Call for Funding Research Proposals to be pursued in the year 2019.

After completing the evaluation process based on reports by scholars from Greek and other Universities and Research Centers, the research proposals that will be funded by RCH are the following (in alphabetical order under the surname of the applicant and presented according to the funding category):

 

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

  • Michael Konaris, DPhil. Ancient History, Balliol College, University of Oxford

Title: “Hellas through American eyes. Representations of Ancient Greece in 19th-century American Scholarship”

Summary: The 19th century is a crucial period in the history of American classical scholarship: during its course American classicists sought to emancipate themselves from  European influences and articulated their vision for the development of a distinctively American approach to Greek antiquity. Moreover, in response to domestic utilitarian critics who argued that classical studies were of no value in the New World, American classical scholars contended that the study of ancient Greece was necessary in order to counter the negative aspects of the modern American way of life.

The project proposes to investigate the portrayal of ancient Greek culture in the writings of three leading 19th-century American classicists, namely, Edward Everett (1794-1865), Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862), and Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924) and how it was meant to contribute to the cultural and moral betterment of the United States of their times. The American conceptions of ancient Greece and their implications will be examined in the light of those prevalent in contemporary Europe. In particular, comparisons and contrasts will be drawn between the view-points of American Hellenists and classical scholars in Germany, England, France and Greece. By placing emphasis on the modern agendas informing the approaches of 19th-century classicists and by exploring the similarities and differences between the American and European traditions of classical scholarship, the project aims to cast light on the distinctive ways in which the ancient Greek past was interpreted, appropriated and utilized in the US and in European countries.

 

  • Stelios Lekakis, Post-Doc Researcher, Newcastle University

Title: «Archaeology on the front line; Cultural politics and archaeological projects in the land of Ionia (1919-1922)»

Summary: The proposed project will examine the activities conducted by Greek archaeologists in Asia Minor between 1919-1922 and their role in the wider national identity building in South East Europe and Turkey, after World War I. The project entails bibliographical and archival research, compiling information on specific sites in Turkey – the theatres of this particular ‘conflict’ archaeology and heritage management in the early 20th century.

The project is a systematic research and compilation of data concerning the activities of the Greek Archaeological Expedition in Asia Minor (1919-1922), its prominent members and their role in the political context, in the midst of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the growing economic interests of several European countries.

The main research problems to be tackled include:

  1. To examine why specific sites were chosen for archaeological activities, how were they researched, and what key findings were produced.
  2. To investigate the Greek Archaeological Expedition’s activities in Asia Minor and their relationship to the contemporary heritage projects in Greece and Turkey, including how ‘classicism’ and the ‘byzantine identity’ contributed to nation-building in the early 20th century.
  3. To analyse relationships between the Greek Archaeological Expedition’s activities and the excavation/movement of antiquities in Asia Minor after WWI by other foreign archaeological schools.
  4. To examine how the antiquities unearthed were aligned to different national narratives, and the extent to which this provides a useful benchmark for the uses and abuses of cultural heritage in the creation of ‘national consciousness’ for the ‘imagined communities’ of South East Europe in the beginning of the 20th century.
  5. To consider the potential of this case-study of the use of cultural heritage in a turbulent era as a common basis for future projects which promote mutual understanding between Greece and Turkey.
  6. To examine the value of archaeological knowledge created in the mid-20th century as the basis for an inclusive management plans of sites with contested histories such as the ones discussed.

The proposed project is the last phase of a wider research programme that commenced in 2007 and it will culminate in a small book, to be completed in 2019, one hundred years after the landing of the Greek forces in Asia Minor.

 

  • Maria Martzoukou, Dr. of Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Title: “Can prosody help patients with non-fluent aphasia regain their communication skills?”

Summary: Although aphasia is a very common disorder, the neural processes that influence recovery continue to be unknown. As a result,  specific, widely accepted aphasia therapies do not yet exist. Therapies based on prosodic-musical elements of speech, however, look promising. One of the most well-known treatment methods which is mainly based on pitch and rhythm, two characteristics of both prosody and music, is the Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT).

MIT was developed to increase verbal output in adults with non-fluent aphasia. While MIT has been adapted from English to several languages (French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish) and many positive effects for patients have been reported, in Greece it is almost unknown.

The aim of the proposed study is to translate and adapt the MIT to Greek and to explore its efficiency by conducting an experimental study with Greek patients with non-fluent aphasia (Broca’s aphasia).

To this aim, after the translation and adaptation of the MIT to Greek, by making all the necessary changes to words, sentences and prosodic cues (rhythm, pitch), we will explore its efficiency by conducting an experimental study. Participants of the study will be 8 patients with Broca’s aphasia. Four of them will attend the MIT treatment for a 12-week period, while the rest of them, the control group, will go through the standard speech therapy treatment.

In order to get a clear view of the factors which may affect the effectiveness of the therapy (e.g. good perception of prosodic or/and musical cues), before the treatment, patients’ abilities to comprehend prosodic-musical cues, such as variations of the pitch, the rhythm, the duration and the intensity, will be explored. This evaluation will be performed through the use of a prosodic-musical element comprehension task, which will be created for this study.

Moreover, data from diagnostic tests (e.g. Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination; BDAE) and functional imaging techniques will be collected for each participant, before treatment, just after treatment and 3 months after the completion of the therapeutic program. In such a way, we should be able to assess the efficiency and the possible long-lasting positive effects of the MIT treatment.

Therefore, the proposed study will offer a prosodic-musical element comprehension test, the Greek version of MIT and experimental data from a systematic use of MIT in Greek patients with Broca’s aphasia.

 

  • Thanasis Betas, Dr. of History, University of Thessaly

Title: “Filter-cigarettes… Business strategies, technological changes and organizational innovations in the Greek cigarette industry between 1945-1973”

Summary: During the first years of the 1950s the American cigarette industry dominated almost the entire world. That decade a new smoking product, the filter-cigarette, appeared as a result of the grave concern that was put forward by different health institutions concerning the harmful effects of smoking. The spreading of the filter-cigarette in the post-war era provoked technological changes in the cigarette industry. The largest American and European cigarette industries entered a new phase of modernization: renewal of mechanical equipment -the cigarette-filter machine was the major innovation- and the adoption of new methods of labour organization on the whole.

The technological developments that are noticed in the cigarette industry across Europe after the end of World War II, as well as the increasing business interest regarding the scientific management, forced the upgrading of the role of the “experts” who dealt with working conditions, health and safety in the workplace. The measurements and the recordings, the analytical study and the classification of the employees by the “experts”, alongside the matter of precautionary measures in the factories are linked with the demand for the increase of productivity and scientific management.

In Greece, the largest cigarette industries aware of those changes taking place internationally in the branch, sought to modernize their technological and mechanical equipment. In order to respond to the new circumstances and smoking habits that occurred in Europe during that period and gradually adopted by Greek consumers, they acquired new machinery; the most significant technological innovation was the cigarette-filter machine as was the case in most cigarette factories in Europe. Besides, the Greek cigarette industries looked for methods of scientific management aiming to achieve the increase of productivity. In this context, it seems that the status of “experts” –engineers, technical consultants, managers and doctors of occupational medicine- was raised.

In this research, we draw our attention on the issue of the effects that technological and organizational modifications had on labour and their effects on the construction of social relations in the workplace, through a comparative approach between Greek and foreign cigarette industries. The investigation of attitudes, discourses and practices of “experts”, as well as the stance and the rhetoric of employees and labour unions, regarding the issues raised above, constitutes the main goal of this paper.

 

  • Sukru Ilicak, Dr. of History, Harvard University

Title: “An Examination of Muslim Albanian Politics during the Greek Revolution (1821-1826)”

Summary: There are almost 50,000 archival documents related to the Greek Revolution in the Ottoman State Archives (OSA) in Istanbul, however, scholarly research based on these sources remains extremely limited. In all these documents, the Sublime Porte’s efforts to mobilize the Muslim Albanian provincial magnates-cum-warlords against the Greek insurgents stand out as a central theme. Having exhausted its pool of military manpower in its fight against the provincial magnates (the ayans) in the decade prior to the Greek Revolution, the Ottoman central state was literally at the mercy of Albanian warlords and mercenaries for the suppression of the Greek uprising until the advent of the Egyptian forces in 1825. Yet, the Albanians followed their own survival instincts and agendas, and their averseness to put on a united Muslim front against the Greeks proved to be another failure of the Sublime Porte’s already crumbling system of imperial allegiances. There are innumerable documents in which the Ottoman administrators assessed the Albanian counteraction as the chief impediment to the suppression of the Greek insurrection. Historians’ reluctance to grant the Albanians of the early 19th century the qualities of a people capable of pursuing its own interests—as opposed to being a mere agglomeration of mercenary tribes—has largely prevented a clear understanding of their key role in the Greek Revolution.

The proposed research will explore the ways in which the actors of the post-Tepelenli order shaped the course of the Greek Revolution, putting special emphasis on the Muslim Albanian element. Making extensive use of severely understudied Ottoman archival material, the research will follow the careers of the bewildered Albanian warlords endeavoring to find their place between the Greek revolutionaries fighting for independence and the agents of the Ottoman central state trying to reestablish imperial authority.

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RESEARCH GROUPS

  • Dimitris Balampanidis, Dr. of Urban Social Geography, Department of Geography, Harokopio University
  • Dimitris Pettas, Dr. of Urban Social Geography, School of Architecture, NTUA
  • Evangelia Papatzani, PhD Candidate, Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, NTUA

Title: “Socio-spatial effects of the Airbnb short term rentals in the city of Athens”

Summary: This research proposal examines the recently widespread practice of the Airbnb short term rentals in the city of Athens, with a view to revealing its multiple effects on space and society. The scientific interest revolves around two major research questions. The first one concerns the extent of the Airbnb phenomenon, its special characteristics and particular geography; and the second one concerns the importance of the Airbnb rentals for the residential and economic strategies of the Airbnb hosts, for developments in the real estate market and for possible transformations in the city’s neighbourhoods.

The research questions will be explored from the standpoints of urban and social geography, through the combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The quantitative research will involve the cartographic and statistical processing of primary data collected by the online platform of the “Airbnb” company, as well as data provided by the “Inside Airbnb” open source data tool. The data processing will be conducted at different scales of space: first, at the regional level (Region of Attica) and, next, at the city and the neighbourhood level (Municipality of Athens). A special emphasis will be given to the neighbourhood level, where data analysis will be enriched by qualitative research, that is, by a series of semi-structured and in-depth interviews with a diverse and representative sample of interviewees, including Airbnb hosts and guests, homeowners and long-term renters, Airbnb professionals, association representatives and public administration officials. The qualitative research will focus on two central areas of Athens with significantly high concentrations of Airbnb rentals and, therefore, of particular interest: the neighbourhood of Koukaki-Akropoli and the area located west of the very central Patission Avenue including Victoria square, Agios Panteleimonas, Attiki, Amerikis square, Agios Nikolaos and Kato Patissia.

Despite the extent to which the Airbnb phenomenon has developed in various cities around the globe, it has attracted little research attention yet, while it is practically unexplored in the case of Greece. However, the Airbnb phenomenon has been a matter of serious concern to the governments and public administration – that have already planned and implemented relevant policies – but also to the residents of the cities – who have already developed unofficial local initiatives to address negative effects on their neighbourhoods and everyday life. This research proposal is expected to contribute to the so far limited scientific debate on the Airbnb phenomenon and introduce the issue also in Greece. Drawing from the experience of other cities, this research proposal aims at thoroughly exploring the Airbnb phenomenon in the city of Athens, revealing its particular dimensions and formulating appropriate policy guidelines. The case of Athens is considered to be of particular interest due to the different local context and particular processes of urban development – compared with cities in North America or Western Europe – as well as due to the local condition of a deep, long and continuing economic crisis.

 

  • Elpida Rikou, Dr. of Social Psychology, École des Ηautes Études en Sciences Sociales
  • Katerina Konstantinou, PhD candidate, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences

Title: “Artistic research in Greece, from the 1990s to the years of the crisis”

Summary: This project considers the study of recent developments on artistic research in Greece as an occasion for an important theoretical and methodological contribution in this newly established field. It is timely in doing so, both given that artistic research, its history and prospects are of great interest internationally, and in view of the fact that, even though artistic research has become essential in cultural production of value worldwide, it is still not well documented as a social phenomenon and remains under-theorized, in need of specific case studies.

The term artistic research, referring to activities in the processes of art production that could qualify as “research,” is relatively recent but it has already been strongly debated. This project responds to the growing interest for artistic research, nowadays, related to current drifts in the arts, which may be understood as a confirmation of the artists’ innovative spirit that opens up new perspectives for scientists themselves or as a by-product of neoliberal antagonistic relationships in education that could restrict artistic freedom by creating a new academy.

The project focuses on the fact that since the 1990s artistic research has seen a significant development in Greece too, due to artistic initiatives drawing from social sciences and humanities in order to produce art with political overtones. This tendency has been reinforced during the current crisis when the need for art activism was clearly felt and encouraged by the international attention that contemporary Greek art production gained. Meanwhile, Greek Fine Arts Schools face the challenge of artistic research and of further updating their curriculums.

The research project combines notions and tools from anthropology and art history in order to document and theorize artistic research in Greece from the 1990s, when it first appears, onward. Methodology and outcomes can be summarized as follows: 1) An archive of artworks, artists, and exhibitions will be developed. 2) An online platform will be designed and implemented in order to host the research material. 3) A selection of projects will be uploaded into an international database for artistic research, also offering artistic research in Greece wider visibility. 4) Four selected in-progress artistic researches will be compared through participatory observation and in-depth interviews. 5) An article theorizing the field of artistic research in Greece will be submitted to a relevant peer-reviewed journal. 6) An event will be organized to publicize the research results and serve as an occasion for an informed dialogue amongst Greek and international artists, scientists and theorists.

This project will provide a solid background for the study of artistic research culture within and around academia both in Greece and internationally and will deepen our understanding of art-making processes, their institutional context and the public perception of contemporary arts. A number of questions on creativity, interdisciplinarity, and collaboration in scientific and artistic research will be posed and their educational and political implications will be thoroughly considered.

 

  • Marios Chatziprokopiou, Dr. of Theatre and Performance Studies, Aberystwyth University
  • Fotini Tsibiridou, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Macedonia

Title: “Performing Ashura in Piraeus: Towards a Shiite poetics of ‘cultural intimacy’ with Greek embodied practices of religiosity”

Summary: The research examines the ritual of Ashura, as it is performed by the Pakistani Shia community in Piraeus. Ashura is the day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Husayn: the Prophet’s grandson and 3rd Imam who led a revolt against the Omayyad caliph Yazid A, and was finally beheaded in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD. This battle provides the central narrative around which Shia Muslims construct their political identity as migrants and their religious identification as a minority vis-à-vis Sunni Muslims in Greece. Ashura is commemorated every year through rituals of lamentation and public processions that include, in some cases, self-flagellation.

A decontextualized focus on the act of self-flagellation, over-accentuated by the mass media, reinforces local stereotypes of the Shia community practices as ‘incompatible’ with Greek cultural values. Social representations of the Shiite as ‘barbaric Others’ are frequently evoked in public debate in order to support Islamophobic and racialised narratives of anti-cosmopolitanism. However, confronted with xenophobia and social estrangement, the Shiite systematically attempt to articulate counter-narratives of ‘cultural intimacy’ (Herzfeld 2005) that stress the similarities between their ritual lament and various embodied performances of faith from the Greek cultural context, such as the Tinos pilgrimage (Dubisch 1996) or the Anastenaria (Danforth 1989).

The proposed research has a threefold purpose. First, it documents the community’s political struggle to promote discursively and practically a multicultural vision of citizenship based on embodied and affective components of subjectivity. Second, it unravels the rich meta-symbolic character the Ashura assumes in a migratory context, becoming an idiom or expressing and negotiating feelings of loss associated with migration trajectories. Third, departing from the case of the Ashura, but also opening-up the research focus through other examples of performances of lament, it examines how the claim to cultural intimacy is re-articulated in contemporary artistic practices, focusing on the performing arts.

 

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We wish to congratulate the researchers who will be receiving the funding for the year 2019, as well as warmly thank all researchers who honored us with their applications.