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Highlights from MGSA’s 26th Biennial Symposium in Sacramento

November 21, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA), celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year, held its 26th biennial Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Sacramento November 7-10. Katerina Lagos, Professor of History and Director of the California State University, Sacramento Hellenic Studies Program, hosted the event and chaired the Local Arrangements Committee. The Symposium is organized by the MGSA Executive Board, the Program Committee, and the Local Arrangements Committee.

The keynote speakers Artemis Leontis, C. P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek & Comparative Literature and Department of Classics Chair at the University of Michigan, and Antonis Liakos, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary History at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, discussed Modern Greek Studies in the 21st Century: Views from History and Literature.

The opening night of the Symposium included the presentation of awards honoring the competition winners in the following categories: books, dissertations, edited volumes, translations, and graduate student essays. A reception and music concert with Orestis Koletsos and his band rounded out the opening night’s program.

Also among the scheduled speakers were: Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, Sacramento State University President Robert S. Nelsen, MGSA President Franklin Hess of Indiana University Bloomington, Program Committee Chair Thomas W. Gallant of the University of California, San Diego, and Prof. Lagos. Author and artist Antonis Nikolopoulos, known as Soloup, signed copies of his graphic novel Aivali: A Story of Greeks and Turks in 1922 at the event.

Prof. Lagos told The National Herald, “The symposium was a huge success and witnessed one of the highest rates of participation in recent history. As well, the program included a wide variety of engaging topics that highlights the breadth and depth of Greek studies. I hope that the diversity of topics and inclusivity of speakers will help characterize the next chapter of the Modern Greek Studies Association.”

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Greeks Living Abroad Antonis H. Diamataris sent a letter of congratulation for MGSA’s 26th Biennial Symposium. Prof. Lagos said that “having the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Diamataris, send us a commendation letter is unprecedented, but extremely welcome. As Vice President of the organization, I am touched and humbled by this honor.”

The Edmund Keeley Book Prize was awarded to Dr. Konstantina Zanou for her book Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850, Stammering the Nation, Oxford University Press, 2018, was presented by Prize Committee Chair Dimitris Antoniou.

The Elizabeth Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize went to Brian Sneeden for his translation of Phoebe Giannisi’s 2016 collection of poetry Rapsodia (Rhapsody) and honorable mention to Johanna Hanink for her translation of Konstantinos Poulis’ 2014 collection of short stories O Thermostatis (The Thermostat) presented by Committee Chair Nikos Panou.

The John O. Iatrides Best Dissertation Prize was awarded to Dr. Constanze Kolbe for “Crossing Regions, Nations, Empires. The Jews of Corfu and the Making of a Jewish Adriatic, 1850-1914,” University of Washington, Post-Doc, presented by Committee Chair Evdoxios Doxiadis.

The Vasiliki Karagiannaki Prize for the Best Edited Volume in Modern Greek Studies went to Dr. Tina Bucuvalas for her edited volume Greek Music in America (University Press of Mississippi), presented by Committee Chair Kostis Kourelis.

The Victor Papacosma Graduate Student Essay Prize to Christopher Leo Jotischky-Hull of Brown University for “The Crowning of the Lyre: Andreas Kalvos and the Appropriation of Pindaric Imagery in Nineteenth-Century Greek Diasporic Poetics,” presented by Committee Chair Despina Lalaki.

More information about MGSA’s 26th Biennial Symposium is available online: mgsasymposium.org.

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