Friday, July 10, 2015

My Fellowship at the CIG

It has been an honour to be the Homer and Dorothy Thompson fellow at the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG) for the 2014-15 academic year. My fellowship at CIG allowed me to engage in full-time dissertation research in some of the best Classical libraries in the world: the Blegen Library of the American School of Classical Studies and the British School Library. In my dissertation, “Mechanisms of Power and Control: the Role of Harbor-City Interaction in the Socio-Political Dynamics of Hellenistic Asia Minor,” I conceptualize harbors as similar socio-economic, political, and religious spaces as agoras. By examining the spatial relationship between agoras and harbors, I elucidate the function of harbors within urban planning and assert that they were used as a mechanism for negotiating socio-political relationships between the Macedonian kings and the residents of Hellenistic cities. I use Miletos, Priene, and Pergamon as case studies to answer such questions as: how did the maritime environment reinforce and reflect cultural, political, and religious ideologies? In what way did the harbor function as a liminal space mediating communication networks between the asty, chora, and eschatia, other key sectors of urban life (industrial, religious, and residential), and the larger Mediterranean world? How did the links between maritime and terrestrial space facilitate and/or prevent interaction between Hellenistic kings, and local Anatolian, Greek, and Macedonian residents, and their claims to power and control?

While in Athens for the last year, I not only moved forward my research, but also had the opportunity to present my research at international conferences, such as the EAA in Istanbul, TAG in Manchester, and the Tombros Conference at Pennsylvania State, as well as my lecture at the Canadian Institute in Athens. At all of these occasions, I received invaluable feedback that was driven by current research trends and often offered by experts in my field of research. Through these conferences, as well as discussions and lectures within the Athenian academic community, I am confident that I have grown as an academic and broadened my approach to my research, which would not have been possible without this fellowship opportunity.

As part of the CIG team, along with Jonathan, David, and the interns – Sarah, Tessa, and Christina, I have been able to take an active role in Canadian archaeological endeavours in Greece. My first involvement with CIG and Canadian archaeology was as an undergraduate in 2005 through participation on the Institute’s Kastro Kallithea project in Thessaly, a joint collaboration between the University of Alberta and the 15th Ephorate in Larissa. I have continued to be part of the Kallithea team and am proud to participate and support Canadian archaeological projects. As a M.A. student, I expanded my involvement in Canadian archaeology in Greece as a Brock University intern at CIG in 2010. My internship only heightened my interest in the field and my desire to maintain participation in Greek-Canadian archaeology as I began a Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo, SUNY in 2011. Consequently, when the opportunity arose to apply for a fellowship at CIG, I applied in anticipation of being part of the team once again and promoting Canadian students and scholars in Greece. Four years later, Jonathan and David still exhibit the same enthusiasm and desire to maintain and to advance the Institute’s interests within Greece and back in Canada.

Unlike my three-month internship, however, a nine-month fellowship offered many more opportunities to become acquainted with the scholars who pass through the Institute; although I am familiar with much of their scholarship, I have not had the chance to meet them all. Tristan Carter’s keynote address about the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project at the Open Meeting really stood out for me, because of his passion, research questions, and methodology. I believe that it is scholars such as Prof. Carter who are crucial to ensuring the future of Classical Studies and Archaeology, by inspiring a new generation of young scholars to enter the field and pursue dynamic new venues of research.

In addition to networking with Canadian and International scholars, as the fellow at the Canadian Institute I have broadened my understanding of past and present Canadian involvement in Greece. During the fall, I catalogued the Fred Winter archives and developed the Portal to the Past, while, in the spring, I focussed my efforts on consolidating and recording the Institute’s fieldwork archives. By sifting through these documents, I learned about the Institute’s work and gained an in depth understanding of the bureaucratic process of permit applications and archaeological research. Since its inception, the Canadian Institute has been granted permits for many fantastic and diverse archaeological projects throughout Greece, amongst which are the Persian Wars Shipwreck Survey, the Mytilene Project, the Tanagra Survey Project, and the Kamares Cave Project on Crete. Although the fieldwork archives were not always easy to wade through, I truly enjoyed reading the documents and certainly learned a great deal about Canadian archaeological research in Greece and the importance of CIG in fulfilling these endeavours.

Although I am sad to say goodbye to the Institute, I will only be moving across the street to the American School of Classical Studies as the 2015-16 Jacob Hirsch Fellow, so I will be able to stay in touch. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of CIG and will always think fondly of my time here. Thanks to all of you who made this such a memorable year for me!

Lana Radloff

No comments:

Post a Comment