The Culture of Modern Greece: The Ethnography of a Society in Transition
Students abroad are already proto-anthropologists, trying to make sense of the rules of the society around them so that they can adapt to the rhythms and practices of their new, temporary home. This class turns that experience into a structured exploration, both offering history and social context that will allow life in Greece to make sense, and giving assignments that will have students exploring that society in ways they might not otherwise find on their own.
We focus on the culture(s) of Modern Greece from the 1960s onwards, drawing on authors from across the social sciences to help us identify key realms that make life in Greece distinct. We will also train more specifically in the theories and methods of anthropology, identifying how the focuses of anthropologists writing ethnographies in Greece have changed over the past decades, learning thus both about social changes in Greece and about the history and scope of anthropology at the same time. Tying this content to the experiential realm, we will try on different lenses that social scientists have created for us to look through as we conduct ethnographic research, testing what new insights we can gather when we examine the world through theories of space, ritual, performance, gender, symbol, and more. This structure will allow the student an understanding of contemporary society in Greece and a developing awareness of their own cultural conditionings and ethnocentrisms.