Friday, October 28, 2011

Library Specializations and Opening Hours

Since 2009 we have been augmenting our Library on a regular basis with books and monographs relating to the following areas of specialization:

  • Archaeological theory, method and practice
  • Survey archaeology
  • Remote sensing
  • Environmental archaeology
  • Ecofactual studies
  • Computer applications in archaeology
  • Artifact and site conservation
  • Cultural heritage management
  • Boeotian studies

To facilitate the use of our Library, starting November 1st we have extended hours. The new hours are:
Monday: 09:00 – 13:00
Tuesday: 09:00 – 18:00
Wednesday: 09:00 – 13:00
Thursday: 09:00 – 18:00
Friday: 09:00 – 13:00

In closing, I extend a cordial invitation to you all to attend our lectures and events as well as to make use of the materials we have in our Library.

David Rupp.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Welcome Ambassador Robert Peck and Congratulations Laura Surtees!!!

The new Canadian Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, Robert Peck, presented his credentials on Tuesday to President Papoulias. One of his first official duties was to visit the Institute on Wednesday. Ambassador Peck knows Athens and the Institute very well as he served as the Political Counselor at the Embassy from 1995 to1998. He helped tirelessly the Canadian Institute to deal with the many challenges and difficulties it was confronting in the mid to late 1990s.

After meeting our Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, Chris Wallace, our Wilfrid Laurier University Intern, Haley MacEachern, and our volunteer, Chris Stewart, we discussed over coffee the present state of affairs and the long-term aspirations of the Institute. It is clear that Ambassador is a man of ideas and energy and seeks to find productive synergies between CIG and the Embassy. We look forward to working with him and his able staff in making Canada and the Institute more prominent in Athens and in Greece. He was given the full tour of the Library, the Offices and the Hostel. When he was last stationed in Athens all of these components were situated in a single apartment on the third floor. We’ve come a long way, baby, eh?!

Welcome Ambassador Peck!!!

Great News!
The Institute through its undergraduate internships and its graduate fellowships provide hands-on practical learning experiences for young Canadians aspiring to an academic career. In addition, they have ample opportunities to learn more about Greece – ancient and modern – and to meet others like them at the other Foreign Archaeological Schools and Institutes who are on the long road that forms a life’s work.

In 2001/2 Laura Surtees was a Canadian Museums Association Intern at the Canadian Institute through the Youth International Internship program funded by the Canadian government. Laura’s star continues to rise as a Ph.D. candidate in Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. On Tuesday she was officially awarded one of the three, prestigious Whiting Fellowships at Bryn Mawr for this academic year. These are given by the Mrs Giles Whiting Foundation. This Fellowship will enable her to finish in 2012 her doctoral dissertation, which is entitled, "A Thessalian City: The Urban Survey of Kastro Kallithea". Congratulations Laura!!! Bravo sou!!!

David W. Rupp

Friday, October 14, 2011

Environmental Archaeology Lecture and the Politics of Archaeology and Identity

This coming Wednesday, the 19th, at 7:30 pm, is the first Institute lecture for the 2011/12 season. The speaker will be Dr China P. Shelton (Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Framingham State University) who this fall is doing research at the Wiener Laboratory of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The title of her lecture is, "A Holistic Approach to Environmental Archaeology: Plants, People, and Landscape in the Italic Iron Age".

Dr Shelton’s lecture will focus on Environmental Archaeology as a category of study that helps to put people in context - but needs itself to be contextualized using input from other disciplines. We do not simply use science to reconstruct the environment and subsistence practices as ends in and of themselves. Rather, we also want to know what people in the past thought about different environments, and how they used those environments to define themselves and others. In order to reach these more intangible aspects of the human experience, it is necessary to take a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating ideas and information from Anthropology and Classics to flesh out the archaeological data. She will present one example of this kind of approach, drawn from recent paleoethnobotanical research in the Sangro River Valley, Abruzzo, Italy, which investigated consumption practices and environment as a potential basis for identity construction during the Iron Age (6th - 5th centuries BC).

Book of the Blog
Gone are the simpler, more innocent days of the “archaeology” of some particular part of the past. One now talks of the “archaeologies” of a particular culture. Even in taking this approach, that is that there is no “privileged” interpretation, but the possibility of many views of the past, the terrain in frequently contested, with competing claims to priority and authority. All points of the intellectual, political, social and cultural compasses are represented in these fierce debates. The globalized, post-modern world we live in is a warm and moist greenhouse for such developments. With the addition of nationalism to this potent brew, the objectives and practice of archaeological research as well as the use and interpretation of ancient monuments and archaeological discoveries, this contemporary discourse is no longer the protected preserve of the Western elites.

For the 1999 Archaeological Institute of America meeting in Dallas, TX, Prof. Susan Kane organized a Presidential Forum on two aspects of this growing debate. As editor, she has published the original six papers along with two more for added coverage in, The Politics of Archaeology and Identity in a Global Context (Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, Colloquia and Conference Papers 7, 2003).

Kane’s Introduction explores succinctly the background and trends in how archaeology, politics and identity are contested, by whom and for what purposes in contemporary societies across the global. The central role of archaeology in creating and shaping culture history lends itself to manipulation and polyvalency by the owners and the consumers of the past, the archaeologists themselves, the local and national communities where this research take place and the global community of consumers.

The collection of papers spans interwar Italy and Albania (O. Gilkes), 20th century Central (R.A. Joyce) and 19th-20th century North America (F.P. McManamon), 19th-20th century Egypt (L. Meskell), 19th- 20th century Greece (Y. Hamilakis), Late Hellenistic Palestine (S. Herbert), 19th-20th century Japan (W. Edwards) and 20th century Turkey (I. Hodder). Conflicting political and intellectual agendas and/or the construction of cultural identity in the face of real or perceived external threats permeate these fascinating discussions. This can involve not simply the question of “Who owns the past?” but also of “What constitutes the archaeological record?” The fabrication of culture history from consciously chosen subsets of the archaeological record to support an a priori nationalistic agenda as well as to craft a cultural identity with the requisite patina and pedigree of a glorious but fictive past occurs as well.

The contributions to the volume each in their own way prod archaeologists and fellow travellers to think hard on how they relate as researchers to the contemporary world and to the political and social systems in which they work. The growing demand for cultural pluralism, multivocality, shared use and ownership as well as non-colonialist attitudes and practices is forcing archaeologists to negotiate with the local and the national communities they work in for a balanced custodianship and vision of the past. Who ever said doing archaeology was easy?

In closing, the paper by Yannis Hamilakis is a short prequel to the lengthier and broader discussion that finally appeared after being rehearsed in earlier publications as The Nation and Its Ruins. Antiquity, Archaeology and National Imagination in Greece (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). This too is in our Library. Come and delve into the ever changing ways of constructing cultural identities using the archaeological record.

David Rupp

Friday, October 7, 2011

Harvest Moon (almost) for an (almost) Fresh Crop of Links

Hello All,

My name is Chris and I am the new Leipen Fellow at the CIG in Athens. This is my first blog entry for this site (or anywhere else). I'm not a fan of long introductions, so let's get down to it.

The hit-stats for our blog say that a good number of you are reading this from some place other than Greece. For my first post I thought I would offer up a short list of fun events for those lucky enough to be in Canada this October:

Starting in the west, in Vancouver, Hector Williams will be giving a talk on “Lemnos: the Archaeology of a Greek Island” on October 24.

In Edmonton, Jennifer Niels will be talking about “The Parthenon and Periklean Politics” on October 6.

In Winnipeg, you can spend All Hallows Eve with Victoria Wohl and her lecture on “Living the Law in Democratic Athens.”

Christopher Smith, Director of the British School at Rome will be making his way across Ontario on an AIA sponsored lecture tour. You can catch him in Ottawa on the 18th and 19th, London on the 24th, and Toronto on the 28th.

Those in Toronto to see Christopher Smith might also consider walking across the street to the Royal Ontario Museusm, which has recently opened three new galleries focused on classical Rome and the Greek East:

Dans la belle province, on peut voir Robert Vergnieux à la 5 octobre ou Jacques Perrault à la 24:

And on the east coast, the big news is the annual meeting of the Atlantic Classical Association, happening on October 14th and 15th on the lovely campus of Memorial University.

There are, no doubt, many fine public lectures and events that I have missed. The most important one of all is coming up this Monday, when people all over Canada are invited to have an extra helping of turkey for me!

To put you in the Thanksgiving spirit, the first person to send me an email naming this body of water, or the park it runs through, wins a fresh rutabaga. (Delivery not included; you have to dig it up yourself.)

Christopher Wallace
Ph.D. Candidate (Classics), University of Toronto
Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, Canadian Institute in Greece