How to Think About the Past, lecture by Katherine Fleming

Sat 3/2/2024 • 4PM - 6PM PST

Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum

“How to Think About the Past”

Lecture by Katherine Elizabeth Fleming
(President and CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust
and Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization,
Department of History, New York University)

Introductory remarks by The Honorable Christina Valassopoulou, Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles.

In his poem “O gyrismos tou xenitimenou” (“The Return of the Exile”), Giorgos Seferis famously wrote that the protagonist’s nostalgia for Greece had created a “non-existent country.”

We access the past in various ways, none of them totally reliable: memory, nostalgia, history — carry with them different implications and different defects. This talk will consider various ways in which these different pathways to the past connect to modern Greek history, literature, and nationalism. Drawing on examples from contemporary oral history and from Greek-Jewish memoirs, it will consider the various ways in which the past is always with us — and always changing.

Katherine Elizabeth Fleming is President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization in the Department of History at New York University (NYU), where she served as Provost from 2016 to 2022. A historian of Modern Greece and the Mediterranean, her interests range from religious identity to historical memory to oral history. In Greece she is the co-director of the large-scale public history project ISTORIMA.ORG, which she co-founded with the journalist Sofia Papaioannou with a significant grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. From 2012-2016 she was President of the Board of the University of Piraeus in Greece. She currently serves as a political appointee to the administrative board of the University of Paris system in France.

This event is being co-sponsored by the LMU Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies and held under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles. This program is made possible thanks to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).


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