CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

May 24, 2001 Taking off for study in sunny Greece




by Barbara Black

Thirteen Concordia students left Mirabel Airport on Friday on Concordia’s first undergraduate study trip to Greece, cradle of Western civilization.

They are taking a new three-credit summer course, INTE 298G-1, titled The Odyssey Revisited. After an intensive week of preparatory lectures in Montreal, they are spending three weeks in Athens and the surrounding region, soaking up classical and Byzantine architecture and art, plus contemporary Greek culture and some of the language.

Overview of Greek history

The course, given by Professor Lambros Kamparides, was offered this summer through Concordia’s Interdisciplinary Studies unit.

Professor Kamparides says that it is a challenge to give students an overview of classical, Byzantine, medieval and modern Greece in a few short weeks.

“I wouldn’t attempt if it we were not there,” he said. However, when you see a site that has been successively inhabited throughout those periods, it makes history and culture come alive, he added.

Kamparides also wants to show the students how Greece sits at the crossroads of East and West, and became a link between Europe and the Orient. It accounts for the Greek concern with moderation, with seeking, whether in diplomacy or philosophy, “the golden mean,” a balance between extremes.

The course is an initiative of the Hellenic Academic Foundation, part of the Hellenic Congress of Quebec. Nikos Katalifos, president of the Hellenic Congress, said, “The idea has been around for some time, but it’s thanks to Dr. Kilgour that it’s up and running now.” Dr. Robert Kilgour is Vice-Dean, Curriculum and Appraisals, in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

John Papadimas, who, like Kamparides, is doing his PhD in modern Greek history at the Université de Montréal, will also go with the students. He promised that the students will work hard.

“While they’re in Greece, they’ll have lectures, and they’ll be expected to prepare course materials and a term paper. It’s also an opportunity for interaction among the students.”

Although Concordia has perhaps thousands of students of Greek origin, this small group is surprisingly diverse. Kamparides noted that three of the students are in Classics, three from English literature, and three from Art History, all subjects strongly linked to the contributions of Greece.

Inter-university links

Concordia does not yet have a Hellenic studies program, but Dr. Nikos Metallinos, coordinator of Hellenic Studies in the Faulty of Arts and Science, is building links with McGill University and the Université de Montréal to establish an inter-university program in Hellenic Studies. He is also organizing a series of lectures by Greek authors and philosophers.

The Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics offers several courses in the Greek language: Hellenic Studies, MODL 399A, Structure of Modern Greek (six credits), intended for students with no knowledge of the language: MODL 498A, Modern Greek Language and Culture (three credits), which requires a prerequisite course or permission and is intended for students with some knowledge of modern Greek; and MODL 498C, Greek for Native Speakers (three credits). Its Web site is http://www-cmll.concordia.ca/.

The university also offers an interdisciplinary cluster in Hellenic Studies, with courses from the departments of CMLL, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion.