Students in New York and Istanbul are simultaneously taking “The World Responds to the Greeks,” an undergraduate seminar co-taught by Prof. Dimitrios Antoniou at Columbia and Prof. Matthew Gumpert at Boğaziçi University. The course is part of the ongoing Columbia Global Seminar on Byzantine and Modern Encounters, originally offered in 2015 by Profs. Karen Van Dyck and Martha Howell. Prof. Gumpert was on campus as the semester began, and Prof. Antoniou will be in Istanbul for the final week of classes.
This spring "The World Responds to the Greeks" examines the way particular spaces serve as sites for the production and reproduction of cultural and political imaginaries. It places particular emphasis on the themes of the polis, the city, and the nation-state as well as on spatial and literary representations of and responses to notions of Greece across time. The question of space and the site-specific is also raised by the very logistics of the course, which links two classrooms, two groups of students, and two professors by way of long-distance learning technologies. Unlike other courses live-streaming a single professor's lecture to passive audiences, "The World Responds to the Greeks" emphasizes dialogue, team-teaching, and students' active participation through the use of special software and studio equipment. "The World Responds to the Greeks" aims to familiarize students not only with Greece as a space at the crossroads of East and West but also with the ways in which different disciplines have considered space across geography and time, and understood it, in their own ways, as "Hellenic." Towards that end the course has been adapted to include a number of open classes in the form of public events to facilitate a wider discussion and engagements with communities in New York and Istanbul.