SACRAMENTO, CA – The Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA), celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year, holds 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, is hosting the event and is also the chair of the Local Arrangements Committee.
The Symposium is organized by MGSA Executive Board, the Program Committee, and the Local Arrangements Committee.
Prof. Lagos spoke with The National Herald about the Symposium and ushering in the next 50 years of the MGSA. She noted the inclusivity and diversity of the program which includes topics from all aspects of Modern Greek Studies, not only related to 1821, but from throughout Greek history and up to present day such as traditional Greek music in the 20th century, gender issues, and the effects of the crisis. Prof. Lagos pointed out that everyone is welcome, scholars from various backgrounds, from the most seasoned professors to graduate students.
TNH: Could you tell us a bit about what attendees can look forward to at the event?
Prof. Katerina Lagos: The conference will provide an opportunity to engage in the current areas of research and issues facing Greece and the Greek diaspora. The topics that will be covered span literature, music, religion, politics, history, economics, and identity. This symposium brings together researchers from around the world in different points in their career to discuss the topics and issues affecting Greeks and Greece.
TNH: How long did it take to put the Symposium together?
KL: The conference took about two years to plan and I had submitted my conference proposal for the February 2017 Executive Board meeting and was awarded the 2019 conference. The preparations have been a team effort both from the Hellenic Studies committee at Sacramento State University and with the MGSA Executive Board.
TNH: What is the most rewarding aspect of the MGSA’s Biennial Symposia?
KL: This has been a labor of love for me so that I could bring the symposium to the West Coast and to usher in the next 50 years of the MGSA. My hope is that the diversity and inclusivity of the organization continues to expand. Our keynote lecturers will also reflect on the next chapter of Greek studies as they speak on Greek studies in the 21st century. One of my greatest achievements was to secure $20,000 to help underwrite the travel costs for scholars who come from abroad – especially Greece and Turkey. I hope that everyone enjoys the topics covered in the conference and the discussions that will follow.
Among the speakers will be 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. 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, will discuss Modern Greek Studies in the 21st Century: Views from History and Literature.
The opening night of the Symposium also includes 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 featuring Orestis Koletsos and his band rounds out the opening night’s program.
More information about MGSA’s 26th Biennial Symposium, including the complete program, is available online: mgsasymposium.org.