Professor of Modern Greek and Chair of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, Artemis S. Leontis has now been appointed as the C. P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek Studies and Comparative Literature in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) at the University of Michigan effective January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2022.
Prof. Leontis announced the appointment on December 18 with the following statement, “I have been named the new C. P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek Studies and Comparative Literature, LSA, effective Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2022. You can see the Regent’s announcement in the December 6 issue of the University Record.”
Of the appointment, she said, “It’s an honor and an immense challenge to build on the work of Vassilis Lambropoulos. One of the challenges is thinking about how language and area studies, particularly Greek studies, should develop in a large, public, American research university. Fortunately, there are structures in place for the fundamental work, and I have the pleasure of working with Despina Margomenou, a brilliant colleague in the Modern Greek program, and colleagues also in Classics and in Comparative literature. We have wonderful students and alumni. Despina and I are planning a busy winter series of events, which we will announce shortly, and a newsletter will be in the mail early in January.
“Classical Studies and Comparative Literature will search someone to fill a second joint tenure track position in Modern Greek next year,” she said.
“If you feel inspired, please send me your ideas and thoughts,” Prof. Leontis said, concluding her statement.
A third-generation Greek American, Leontis completed her BA at Oberlin College, and did post-graduate work at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She was awarded an MA in Greek and PhD in Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. Her first book, Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland (1995, Greek translation in 1998) was listed as an outstanding academic book of 1992-1997 by Choice magazine.
Greece; A Travelers’ Literary Companion (1997) is an anthology of 24 stories by Greek writers introducing readers to the landscapes of Greece through Greek perspectives. With Lauren Talalay and Keith Taylor, she coedited “What these Ithakas mean…” Readings in Cavafy (2002), a companion to the exhibit “Cavafy’s World” at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The TLS picked it as a “Book of the Year” for 2002.
Her Culture and Customs of Greece (2009) presents an overview of contemporary Greece for a general readership. Leontis’ latest book, Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins, a biography of the American philhellene who married Angelos Sikelianos and produced two festivals of drama and games at Delphi, will be published in March 2019 by Princeton University Press. She is the recipient of a NEH fellowship for independent scholars (1995) and was a Michigan University Fellow at the Humanities Institute in 2011–2012.
As noted in her biography on the University of Michigan’s website, “My field of specialization is Modern Greek Studies: the study of Greeks, the Greek language, migrations in and out of Greece by various ethnic groups, and the idea of Greece cultivated in the West in the modern period. Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s by arguing historical descent from Greek antiquity. Henceforth the desire to align a corporeal, living Greekness with the idea of Greece cultivated in the West became a driving force in the country’s cultural production.”