PROGRAM 1: JUNE 11TH-24TH 2017

Courses Offered      

Social History and Diasporas/Kostarelos

Earth Resources/Bizimis

Travel in the Ancient Mediterranean World/Lazaridis

The Rise of the West and the Great Divergence/Gekas




This course examines nationalism, migration, and ethnicity as forces that have shaped historically the identities, settlement patterns, and institutional development of people in Greece and the Balkans as a whole.  The course will direct attention to political, social, educational, and religious institutions that shaped conflicting discourses on personhood and national identities. In doing so, it aims at providing analytical frameworks and concepts that will clarify the modes through which Greek and Balkan people engage and transact on wider European, transnational, and global stages.



Frances Kostarelos: Governors State University

Dr. Frances Kostarelos is Full Professor in Social Sciences and the Anthropology and Sociology Programs at Governors State University in Illinois.  She was trained at the University of Chicago in cultural anthropology, comparative politics, and sociology and has published on American evangelicals and Eastern Orthodox Christians.  She has received multiple grants from the Lilly Endowment in support of her research and publication on religious institutions and culture.  Her recent research is focused on sustaining Greek agriculture and rural village life in a time of crises, 2008-2016, in the wider context of debt restructuring demands made by the Central European Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. She teaches in the areas of the anthropology and sociology of religion, symbolic anthropology, cultural ecology, rural/urban sustainability, political economy and culture, and ethnographic research methods.


At the most basic level, every resource we use comes from the Earth.  Water, oil, metals, precious minerals, all originate from the Earth through a series of basic physical and chemical processes. The availability and global distribution of specific Earth Resources has influenced the rise and fall of civilizations, has fueled the economic expansion of the 20th century, and still dominates geopolitics. Therefore, understanding how a resource is created and where it is found on the globe is a fundamental underpinning of resource management, global economics and politics. Perhaps most importantly, Earth Resources play a central role in planning for the future of an ever-growing global population, both in size and affluence. This course will introduce the basic principles and fundamentals of geology. It will provide a broad overview of mineral, energy, and water resources, their formation, distribution and the impacts of resource use on the environment and society. Emphasis will be placed on the geological processes governing resource formation and distribution, and the geopolitics related to the use. 



Michael Bizimis: University of South Carolina

Michael Bizimis is an Associate Professor at the School of Earth, Ocean and the Environment, University of South Carolina.  His research interests are in primarily in Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Igneous Processes.  He uses the isotopic and elemental compositions of rocks and minerals to understand the evolution of different terrestrial systems over various time and length scales. As a Geochemist, however, he is fundamentally interested on how matter transfers from one reservoir to another, from the mantle to the crust, from the continents to seawater, or from contamination sources to drinking water reservoirs.  He received his Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the National University of Athens, Greece, and his PhD in Geochemistry from Florida State University.  He continued as a postdoctoral research fellow at Florida International University, and then back at Florida State University as Research Scientist.  He has been at the University of South Carolina since 2008 and he is currently the Director for the Center for Elemental Mass Spectrometry laboratory (CEMS), a state of the art geochemical facility.  He has over 50 peer reviewed publications and multiple research awards from the US National Science Foundation.  He has graduated several masters and PhD students, and regularly teaches Earth ResourcesIntroduction to GeochemistryRadiogenic Isotope Geochemistry, and Igneous and Metamorphic Processes, and has led student field trips to Hawaii and the Azores to study volcanic processes.


In this course, we will examine travel practices and geographical knowledge as attested in the cultures of ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome. In an attempt to reconstruct, as much as possible, the ancient traveling experiences of voyagers who crossed the Mediterranean Sea, of caravan members who sweated on the sandy paths of Near Eastern deserts, or of explorers who dared distant lands to collect information about unknown cultures, we will do close readings of a selected corpus of ancient sources which mainly comprises documentary and fictional travel accounts. Our own insight into these ancient sources will be then tested against current travel-related theories developed by famous experts in this field. In this way, we will be touching upon a number of intriguing questions about life in the ancient Mediterranean world, such as “how difficult was to travel in different parts of the ancient Mediterranean?”, “how were foreign travelers treated in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, or Roman Italy?”, or “to what extent did the contact with foreign cultures shape the native identities of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans?”.



Nikos Lazaridis: California State University/Sacramento

Nikolaos Lazaridis is an Associate Professor of Ancient Mediterranean History at California State University, Sacramento. He left Greece in 1996 to study Egyptology at the American University in Cairo and Oxford University, and later became a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. He is one of the few Greek Egyptologists and currently is the vice president of the Hellenic Society for the Study of Ancient Egypt. His doctoral dissertation, Wisdom in loose form: The language of proverbs in Egyptian and Greek collections of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, was published by Brill Publishers in 2007. Since then he has authored numerous articles on comparative ancient literature, ancient epigraphy, and Egyptian culture. He is currently preparing two monographs:“Let me have Your Majesty hear a marvel”: Aspects of narrative writing in ancient Egypt and North Kharga Oasis-Darb Ain Amur Survey (the latter co-authored with S. Ikram, and L.-A. Warden Anderson). In 2003 he joined the North Kharga Oasis Survey team, which explores ancient travel routes in Egypt’s Western Desert, and after 2007 he has become the team’s chief epigrapher. In 2014 he was one of the recipients of the prestigious National Endowment for Humanities award for Scholarly Editions and Translations, and in 2015 he received Sacramento State’s university award for research, scholarship, and creative activity.


This course offers an in-depth understanding of how the world economy developed during the pre-modern period (1500-1800) and all the way to the present. When did globalization begin? Why are some countries rich and others poor? When did the divergence and the gap between different parts of the world widen? During the period 1500-1800 income differences were fairly small, but since then the interplay between geography, globalization, technological change and economic policies have widened the divides when it comes to the wealth and poverty of nations. The material will be taught through a comparative approach of global history which utilizes contrasts and connections between different parts of the globe and between political and social developments. Topics include the ‘great divergence’ and the ‘rise of the west’; the role of imperial expansion in world trade; the rise of the financial economy; the role of institutions and state building; the role of economic crises and war in the shifting of economic centers of gravity.


Sakis Gekas: York University

Sakis Gekas is Associate Professor and the Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair of Modern Greek History at York University. Gekas has taught History of IndustrializationEuropean Economic History,Economic History of Globalization, and Global and World History at the London School of Economics, European University Institute and University of Manchester. He joined York University in 2010 teaching courses in the History of Modern Greece, the History of Colonialism in the Mediterranean and the History of Greek Migration and Diaspora. He has published Xenocracy. State, Class and Colonialism in the Ionian Islands, 1815-1864, articles and book chapters on the same subject, as well as on the history of merchants and ports in the Mediterranean.