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The Revised Secularization Narrative and Modern Greek Literary Studies by Nektaria Klapaki (University of Washington)

Strand Campus , London

16 Mar
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Nektaria Klapaki

Over the past four decades or so scholars from an array of disciplines, including philosophy, historical sociology, sociology of religion, and history, have recast, revised or outright rejected the key assumptions of the classical secularization theory while they have been rewriting the history of secularization. The, once celebrated, sociological consensus that equated modernity with secularism and presaged the erosion of religion from the public sphere has given way to multiple debates of fairly diverse impulses and theoretical orientations. These debates, in combination with discussions about the religious and the secular, are currently transforming in multiple ways the fields of Romantic, Victorian and Modernist literary studies. This talk seeks to explore the implications of some of these theoretical developments for Modern Greek literary studies and to show that the current rethinking of the secularization narrative has a significant bearing not only upon our understanding of the work of specific modern Greek authors but also on the way in which we conceive the field of Modern Greek literary studies at large.

Nektaria Klapaki: Lecturer, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Dr Nektaria Klapaki is a scholar of modern Greek literature and culture, currently a Lecturer in the Hellenic Studies Program and a faculty affiliate in the Comparative Religion Program at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. She received her training in Greece (B.A. in Classics, University of Crete) and the UK (M.A. and Ph.D. in Modern Greek Studies, University of London). She works at the intersections of Modern Greek Studies, Comparative Literature and Reception Studies, specializing in the role of epiphany in modern Greek literature and culture, and its relation to the pre-modern (Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian) and the modern European traditions of the concept. Her research focuses on two major areas: questions of classical reception in modern Greek literary and cultural context and the relationship of modern Greece to Western modernity, which she examines by addressing overarching questions of secularization, religion, nationalism, history, temporality, memory, identity, travel, and gender. Her main publications, both in English and Greek, have appeared in the Classical Receptions Journal; Journal of Modern Hellenism; Journal of Modern Greek Studies, and several edited volumes. She is currently preparing a book-length manuscript which is a comparative study of epiphany in modern Greek poetry.  In this work, she reads epiphany as an offshoot of modernity intimately connected with the historical processes of secularization and re-sacralization, while situating its emergence in modern Greek poetry vis-à-vis the afterlife of the pagan and the Christian divine, and along the lines of the rise of epiphany in modern European literature.  My research and teaching have been funded by the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, the Greek State Scholarship Foundation, the University of Washington, and the Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC, among others.  She serves as Arts & Humanities Associate Editor of the Journal of Modern Greek Studies and as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Modern Hellenism.


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