Skip to Content

What is Modern Greek Studies

Greek, Greeks, Greece, and Hellenism lie at the heart of Modern Greek Studies. “Modern” distinguishes the subject from ancient Greek, which people usually designate as “Greek.” Modern means Greek after 1452, especially Greek of the past two centuries. But what exactly defines the Greek? Is it language? people? geography? civilization? history? region? religion? customs? tradition? political organization? social structure? Or does the “Greek” refer to Greek ideals articulated by philosophers, writers, and travelers from Lord Byron to Henry Miller? Modern Greek Studies covers all of these subjects. Greece is a product of cultural mixing, of the streaming together of ideas, customs, languages, knowledge, and people in Southern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Located at the confluence of civilizations since antiquity, Greece has always benefited from this blending. Students of Greece, encounter the cultural crucible of the Mediterranean basin.  Greek culture is also the product of Greek migrations. Greek diasporas are an important subject of Modern Greek Studies.

To people interested in current questions of identity, modernity, continuity, hegemony, politics, diaspora, geography, ethics, and historical understanding, the Hellenic tradition constitutes an incomparable cross-cultural field of learning and investigation. Greek studies includes the interdisciplinary examination of Greek literature, history, thought and culture from antiquity to the present, as well as the influences of that civilization on other histories and cultures through the centuries. The study of Greece is not limited to the Eastern Mediterranean but covers the continuous movements, appropriations, and transformations of Hellenism on a global scale.