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Preserving the Past for the Future: Athens 2010 and Beyond

[CHAPS Abroad in Partnership with DIKEMES-the International Center for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies, Athens]

The theme of this 6 credit summer program is “Cultural Heritage Preservation in Greece.” Consisting of two three-credit courses, it lasts five weeks, is taught in English, and is open to qualified graduate students for graduate credit, as well as upper level undergraduate students for undergraduate credits. The program welcomes students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. Intensive and interdisciplinary, the aim is to engage students in global issues of cultural heritage preservation, with Greece as a particular focus.

You will be based in the nation's capital, Athens, where housing in apartments with shared kitchens will be provided near the Acropolis. With a material legacy of objects, monuments, and urban landscapes spanning over two millennia, combined with intangible traditions of stunning richness and complexity, Athens offers a perfect laboratory for exploring how a magnificent ancient, medieval and neo-classical inheritance has been excavated, maintained, and interpreted in the context of a rapidly expanding global city.

Beyond Athens, we will travel north to Thessaloniki, Greece's “second city,” for a comparative study site, focusing more on issues with preserving Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish, and Balkan monuments. On our second field trip, we will head to the islands, beginning with a world-renowned “sin city and lost weekend” destination — Mykonos. Our goal is to analyze the impact of a massive tourist industry on a tiny island once renowned for tranquility and picturesque white windmills.  For contrast we will sail on to Delos (since 1990 a World Heritage Site), studying how sophisticated oversight and planning have balanced pressures of tourism with preservationist ideals, with model success.

Returning to Athens, we will reflect on our experiences and discoveries in summarizing discussions, including a grand farewell meal in a traditional style taverna in the Pankrati neighborhood.

Course Highlights

The program is a partnership between Rutgers University's Art History Dept. & Study Abroad Program, and The International Center for Hellenic & Mediterranean Studies (DIKEMES), Athens.

All students (undergrad and graduate) will pursue a common curriculum of modules on core content themes (e.g., “Excavating the Athens Subway & Historic Preservation,” “The Parthenon Marbles & the New Acropolis Museum,” “Rebuilding the Neoclassical,” “Coping with Earthquake Damage on Byzantine Monuments in Thessaloniki,” “Preserving and Reusing the Ottoman Architectural Legacy,” “The Tourist Economy & Archaeology,” etc.).

Top local experts and professionals will provide instruction and workshops connected with the modules.

Graduate students will pursue additional internships or field study opportunities in museums other suitable sites, affording them first-hand experience of how Greek professionals in cultural heritage preservation approach their challenges and objectives.

Dates: May 31-July 3

Application Timetable

Interested students should contact Professor Archer St. Clair Harvey, immediately.

Final Applications forms should be received by Study Abroad by April 1.
For additional information see studyabroad.rutgers.edu/program_athens.html

Cost: Summer 2010 (6 credits)

  • Undergraduate:
    In-state: $5,450
    Out-of-State: $6,450

 

  • Graduate:
    In-state: $, 5750
    Out-of-State: $6,750
Tuition, housing, most fees, and basic medical insurance are included in this fee.
Travel, Summer Session fee ($136), food, major medical insurance, and all personal expenses are not included in this fee.

Program Description (6 credits)

Athens and Beyond (3 credits)

The story of the city of Athens encompasses over 2000 years of architecture and urban culture As the cradle of democracy and western civilization, Athens’ ancient monuments, in particular the Acropolis, have been claimed as “universal heritage” and celebrated as the visual symbols of western values and culture. Yet Athens is far more than its ancient classical past. Home to almost half of Greece’s 11 million inhabitants, it is a thriving metropolis, a modern global city that preserves within its urban fabric significant remains from prehistory through the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and modern periods.

The preservation and conservation of this rich cultural heritage within the context of modern urban development is the subject of this course. Focusing on each of these periods, and using Athens as our laboratory, we will examine the impact of this rich architectural and artistic heritage on urban planning and the evolution of the modern Greek capitol. Preservation of its world-famous heritage has been undertaken by Greeks as well as foreigners, working for archaeological schools, public and private museums, government agencies and non-governmental cultural organizations. How have these efforts, and modern theories and practices in heritage preservation shaped strategies of urban development? .How have Athens’ various “pasts” been integrated or displaced within the modern fabric of the city? How are international, national, European, and private preservation forces shaping the city and its presentation of the past?

The approach is multidisciplinary, reflecting the varied perspectives--ranging from urban studies, art and cultural history, sociology and economics--that inform cultural heritage issues. Guest lecturers will include experts in varied aspects of cultural heritage preservation. Through lectures, specific readings, and exploration of the city, students will gain first hand experience of the topography, monuments and culture of Athens, explore the tensions between modern development and heritage preservation, and assess modern day conservation and preservation practice within an urban landscape. A field trip to Thessaloniki, second city of Greece, with its late antique monuments designated as UNESCO world heritage sites, will provide a comparative urban case study, while a second field trip, to the islands of Mykonos and Delos, will explore heritage destruction and preservation efforts beyond the urban fabric.

Research Projects/Internships (3 credits)

Undergraduates will have the opportunity to pursue individually crafted research projects related to a topic chosen in consultation with their advisor at the beginning of the course. Graduate students will have the opportunity to intern in a variety of cultural institutions in Athens during the five-week period such as the Athens Festival, Athens Symphony Hall, the new Acropolis Museum, the Benaki Museum, the Cycladic Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Goulandris Natural History Museum, the Athens Planetarium, and the Foundation of the Hellenic World.

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the topography of Athens and the interaction of past and present within the modern city.
  • Through a critical assessment of heritage preservation in one of the richest cultural centers in the world, to become aware of the cultural and political forces that shape modern heritage preservation theory and practice, and what we preserve.
  • To become familiar with heritage preservation theory and practice on an international level and to use this knowledge to assess and enrich your perspectives at home.

Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this program, which is open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Students applying for admission should include a letter stating their interest in the issues to be explored, and any previous experience. Lectures will be conducted both in the classroom and on sites within the city of Athens and beyond. Students will present brief reports as part of site visits. A final paper on a research topic related to the course and individual student’s interests will be required. Graduate students will submit a report related to the internship experience. All students are expected to complete required course reading and to actively participate in class discussion.
CHAPS
Department of Art History
Voorhees Hall
71 Hamilton Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
  Phone 848.932.7041
Fax 732.932.1261