2019 Special Issue of Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) - Greek Journeys and Philosophical Reflections

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    The Image of ruins in Greek aestheticism: evoking the distant past and reflecting the human emotion
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Daouti, Panagiota
    The purpose of this work is to present the image of ruins in Greek Aestheticism, as it appeared in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century in Greek literature. This research will be mainly focused on the works of Nikolaos Episkopopoulos, Constantinos Christomanos and Platon Rodokanakis, who are the writers mostly connected to the Aestheticism in Greek literature. The image of ruins, literally or metaphorically used, has different functions in their works as it either evokes the glorious distant past, or it reflects the inner world and the intimate thoughts of the main characters. Ruins become the means to experience a historical reality, to express melancholy or even emotional and spiritual devastation. Moreover, this work presents the interrelation that exists between the European Aesthetic Movement in literature and Aestheticism as it appeared and evolved in Greece, pinpointing at the same time the assimilation of the European characteristics of Aestheticism in Greek literature.
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    Religious sacraments and dance in the Greek Orthodox Church
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Riak, Patricia
    The article analyses the Dance of Isiah as performed during the sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Greek Orthodox Church. The paper is concerned with ritual process merging both biblical text and sacramental dance. The paper explores sacramental ritual and dance that is institutionalised through the patriarchal cosmology of the Greek Orthodox Church. The performance of the Dance of Isaiah will be analysed during Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders defining “rites of passage” that move initiates toward a religious change of status — out of one religious status and in to another. The Church perpetuates these religious performances through ritual in order to define changing religious identities rooted in the institution of the Church. The paper is concerned with the coalescence of ritual process — biblical text and sacramental dance — in order to understand ritual initiation settings of the Church.
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    Greek-Australian women's love poetry: of terrain and transnationalism
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Dounis, Konstandina
    This paper seeks to showcase the various facets of love, romantic and otherwise, explored by Greek-Australian women writers in their poetry and prose. It reinforces the paramount significance of contextuality in relation to women’s experiences if verbal privilege is, indeed, going to have the effect of breaking through community-engendered silences. To that end, being cognizant of the socio-historical context of these poems, particularly those of first-generation women writers of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, gives to these works a certain resonant depth, thus saving them from the charge of being merely facile fancies. Further, this paper seeks to demonstrate that those writings emanating from their second-generation daughters reflect persistent intersections with a keenly experienced transnationalism, the traversing of terrain, in all its tangible and intangible complexity, a central feature throughout.
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    Personal narratives after stoke: stories from bilingual Greek-English immigrants living in South Australia
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Kambanaros, Maria
    Narratives are intricately intertwined with quality of life, culture, and social participation. This paper reports stories told by bilingual people describing the events or consequences of a stroke on their lives. Six immigrant participants (mean age 70 years) who were less than four years post-stroke spontaneously produced a narrative recounting their personal experience of having a stroke in their native language (Greek) and in their second language (English). Stories from the two languages were taken at least ten days apart. All participants had learned English in early adulthood upon migration from Greece to Australia, and not through formal teaching but informally, in the community. This group of immigrants had lived in Australia on average for 46 years. Narratives in the two languages underwent quantitative (length, number of propositions) and qualitative analyses (ratings of coherence, ratings of clarity). Most individuals produced coherent “tellable” stories despite disruptions in language because of stroke-related language deficits or aphasia. Overall, stories were better told (length, complexity of content, temporal-causal sequencing, reference) in Greek — their native language. The results have implications for policy-makers providing health and welfare services to ageing immigrant populations. The findings are also relevant to other countries that have large immigrant populations of stroke survivors.
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    Lost in translation? Investigating the linguistic and conceptual understanding of translated text for older adults of Greek background.
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Tsianikas, Michael; Belperio, Irene
    South Australia is home to a significant cohort of post-World War II migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds. These migrants now constitute a sizeable portion of those 65 years and older in the state. It has been well-documented that migrants often revert to their first language as they age. The quality and efficacy of interpreting and translating services are therefore significant to the wellbeing of this group. Consequently, this chapter investigates the experience of older adults of Greek background with translated text distributed by local government. It concludes by suggesting that education plays an important role in migrant settlement and that language policy cannot be separated from the wider cultural, social and political norms within which it operates.
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    Identity and social connection of Greek dancing in diaspora
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Avgoulas, Maria-Irini; Fanany, Rebecca
    This paper will discuss findings from a qualitative study undertaken in Melbourne, Australia that investigated Greek dancing as an aspect of cultural identity and wellbeing. This research involved nineteen participants (four male and fifteen female) recruited from a well-established, long standing dancing school in Melbourne. These students were enroled in either the senior, adult or performance group. The participants were interviewed about their participation in Greek dancing and the meaning it had for them as well as their reason for participation. There were a number of differences among the participants, which included country of birth (Australia or Greece), age, dancing class, and length of experience. Despite this, the diaspora experience of the participants was particularly significant, and the core reason for participating in Greek dancing of all participants was to express their identity and manifest their Hellenic heritage in diaspora. Preserving this heritage was important to all participants and served as a vehicle for social connection that enhanced their physical and emotional wellbeing.
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    Greasy spoon dagoes: Sydney's Greek food-catering phenomenon, 1870s-1952
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Janiszewski, Leonard; Alexakis, Effy
    Over the first-half of the twentieth century, Sydney’s Greeks became numerically prominent as food caterers and radically transformed the character of the city’s popular eating-houses. They introduced new American commercial food-catering ideas, technology and products and influenced the development of cinema, architectural style, and popular music along American lines. Greek-run oyster saloons, soda/sundae parlours, cafés and milk bars became powerful vehicles for socio-cultural change. Initially radiating out from within the city’s central business district to the east and south, by the early 1920s, Greek food-catering establishments were operating in the western suburbs, including Parramatta, and as far north as Hornsby. The profound changes that Sydney’s Greek food caterers engendered are explored, together with the personal vicissitudes of the food caterer’s themselves. Despite their commercial food-catering popularity, Sydney’s Greeks experienced racist attitudes that perhaps reinforced the safety of transferring aspects of modern American culture, rather than their own traditional cultural elements.
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    Gorgopotamos and after: Tom Barnes' Greek archive 1942-45
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Barnes, Katherine
    Cecil Edward (Tom) Barnes took part in the famous sabotage operation of the Gorgopotamos Bridge in November 1942 as leader of the demolition party. Remaining in Greece after the attack, he rose to become one of two Area Commanders for the Allied Military Mission in Greece. The archive he left behind at his death in 1952 includes over 1000 photos, war diaries, letters and reports, mainly relating to his experiences in Greece. This study demonstrates how these eye-witness records illuminate important aspects of these critical years in modern Greek history including the Gorgopotamos operation itself and the trek across Greece which followed, the “Animals” operation which was conducted to convince Hitler that the Allied landings would take place in Greece and distract his attention from Sicily, surrender overtures from the German commander in Epirus (General Hubert von Lanz), and the so-called first two rounds of Civil War in 1943 and 1944.
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    Australians in Crete in World War II
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Monteath, Peter David
    This paper argues that the Australian involvement in wartime Crete took place in three main phases. In the first phase Australian forces participated in the defence of Crete against German invasion over twelve days in May/June 1941. The second phase began with the surrender of the Allied forces and the stranding on the island of perhaps a thousand Allied soldiers, including Australians. These men “on the run” were forced to rely on the assistance of Cretans for their very survival, and they found the local population remarkably receptive to their needs. The third and final phase grew out of the previous two phases and comprised Australian participation in resistance activities in collaboration with local resistance elements and British forces. The key figure in this regard was Tom Dunbabin, an Australian who became a senior officer with the British Special Operations Executive and who did much to shape the conduct of “irregular” warfare in Crete.
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    Evangelising Zeus: the Iliad according to Loukanes
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Dourou, Calliope
    As early as the fourth century AD, and despite the unflagging efforts of the emperor Julian, known by the sobriquet the Apostate, to thwart the Christians from forging an abiding bond with classical literature, the process of amalgamation of the Greek literary heritage with the emerging Christian culture was already underway spawned primarily by the writings of the Cappadocian Church Fathers, for whom Homer continued to hold the highly esteemed position of the educator of the Greeks. Against this rich backdrop of Christian détournement of the Homeric legacy, the present article seeks to explore the Christian resonances in Nikolaos Loukanes’ 1526 Iliad. Rather than banishing the Olympian gods from his Iliad, as his Byzantine predecessor Konstantinos Hermoniakos had done in the fourteenth century cleaving to his faith, Loukanes opts to depict the gods, albeit through the lens of contemporary Christian beliefs.
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    From Ancient Greek myth to contemporary science in Australia: Cronus as an environmental hypothesis
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) González-Vaquerizo, Helena
    This paper analyses the reception of Greek mythological figures in Earth system science. It concentrates on the so-called Cronus hypothesis (Bradshaw & Brook, 2009), using the myth of this Titan as an analogue to explain the processes of evolution and extinction. The study takes into account Hesiod’s poems, which offer an explanation of the origin and order of the world. Previous occurrences of Cronus in scientific disciplines are also considered, as well as the Gaia (Lovelock & Margulis, 1974a, 1974b) and Medea (Ward, 2009a, 2009b) environmental hypotheses. The analysis demonstrates that the contradictory features in Cronus’ character have been skilfully woven into the scientific rationale. Common concerns of myth and science are discussed, as well as how Classics can play a role when dealing with urgent scientific questions and even help in raising environmental awareness.
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    Plato and Hurka and the place of reason in the good life
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Usher, Matthew L
    This paper looks at the argument of one of the proponents of the Objective List Theory of Well-being, Thomas Hurka, in his book The Best Things in Life, and contrasts it with Plato’s arguments from several of his dialogues; in particular the Philebus. Hurka makes two claims: that there isn’t one ultimate good (as he says Socrates, Plato and Aristotle supposed); and there isn’t a single best human life that’s right for all human beings. I will show that there is much agreement between Hurka and Plato, but that Hurka’s account of Plato’s argument that virtue (being rational) is necessary and sufficient for the good life, obscures Plato’s contribution to the continuing arguments in this area.
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    Euclid's geometry: the case of contradiction
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Mortensen, Chris
    This paper surveys Euclid’s geometry. After raising philosophical questions about the relation between the diagrams and the words, the question is raised concerning how there can be a diagram appropriate to a reductio ad absurdum proof, which by definition operates with a contradiction. This leads us to discover two different kinds of proof of contradiction, one kind in Euclid’s reductios, and the other kind features in the images of the Impossible Figures movement.
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    Aristotle and Democracy
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Mann, Scott
    This paper looks at Aristotle's Politics from the perspective of contemporary political, social and economic problems and possibilities. A focus upon Aristotle's defence of slavery highlights the fact that while contemporary liberal political ideas of human rights challenge Aristotelian-type defences of sexism and racism, such ideas fail to address hierarchical and exploitative class-structured political and economic relations — still justified in the same way in which Aristotle justifies slavery. Consideration of the Politics is of particular contemporary relevance because of the ways in which it correctly highlights problems of unregulated markets and banking operations, unrestricted pursuit of profit and the dangers of rule by a rich minority, which has reached its apogee today, after four decades of neoliberalism. And because of the ways in which it points towards possible radical democratic reforms in the future.
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    Philoponus, Kant, and Russell on the Beginning of Time
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Couvalis, Spyridon George
    Bertrand Russell presented an influential critique of Philoponus’s traversal argument for a beginning of time in its Kantian form. I consider his criticisms and point out that they rely on metaphysical claims about the nature of time, causation, and the scope of non-contradiction. They are not merely logical criticisms. Russell relies on a Platonic atomist metaphysics to defend those claims. Yet, as I also point out, that metaphysics is not obviously true and Russell’s arguments for it are weak. Russell often talks as if his metaphysics arises out of merely logical considerations. However, his metaphysics cannot be justified by logic alone. I conclude that the traversal argument survives Russellian criticism.
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    The Puzzle of the Pseudo-Platonic Axiochus
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Benitez, Rick
    Although the Axiochus was already recognised as spurious in antiquity, it enjoyed a significant status along with other spuria in the Corpus Platonicum. However, its arguments seem carelessly cobbled together. They are mutually inconsistent and internally flawed. Scholars have addressed this issue in different ways. Some argue that the Axiochus is irredeemably confused. Others argue that the dialogue belongs to the genre of consolation literature, in which consistency was not expected. More recently, Tim O’Keefe has argued that the dialogue demonstrates the Socratic practice of “therapeutic inconsistency”, showing readers how to use invalid arguments to induce comforting beliefs. The inconsistencies are best explained, however, as a parody of Hellenistic therapeutic arguments. At the same time, the Axiochus underscores a long-standing Platonic emphasis on thinking critically even in the face of death. This emphasis was demonstrated in the Phaedo by Socrates’ commitment to argument when his interlocutors were afraid for him and themselves. It is demonstrated in the Axiochus by the way Socrates repeatedly encourages Axiochus to consider the arguments he presents. The consoling therapy of the Axiochus, I shall argue, is simply that the practice of reasoning calms fears by setting them to one side.
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    Grief and Consolation in Greece and Rome: Ancient and Modern Perspectives
    (Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2019) Baltussen, Han
    In this talk I surveyed various ancient and modern approaches to grief in order to study the enduring problem of how we humans cope with grief and how these can be productively studied from a comparative angle. The recent upsurge in the study of grief and consoling strategies is especially interested in the healing arts, which is making use of various mechanisms from the humanistic tradition to cope with grief and loss. The paper hopes to spark new debates on how a diachronic analysis can allow for discovering new approaches. It will become clear that we need a great variety of solutions to allow for the processing of grief across a broad spectrum of personalities.

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