When Greece is not Ancient: Colonialism and the Classics

I would like to take the opportunity today to share and promote a very good article, by Katerina Apokatanidis, on the issue of western-centrism and the legacy of colonialism in the fields of the classics.

In short, the article highlights the «arbitrariness that permeates» the scholarly examination of cultural-historical issues and describes some of the problems which arise when Greek culture and history is approached from a western lens.

Ms Apokatanidis observes: «many Western scholars pay no attention to the historical continuity of the ancient past and instead focus on tracing their own values in these texts written in the ancient form of my language. I saw that the modern idea of the nation-state defined how they approached the Ancient Greek past.»

It is a dominant pattern that needs to be addressed more broadly and often, for it distorts the image of the cultures concerned (in this case Hellenism) and makes the understanding of the «other» and thus the comprehension of the respective alterity more difficult, if not impossible.

Moreover, relevant unconscious biases in the academic field contribute to the consolidation or reproduction of stereotypes. In my view, this is the opposite of what research is supposed to do. That is why it is so important to bring unconscious biases or even culturally-determined perspectives to light and address them properly. It could not only change the way researchers approach their studies, but also our relations to every kind of «Otherness,» since too many people are concerned with their particular notions of reality than with the reality right in front of them.

For that reason, I would like to thank Ms Apokatanidis for this sophisticated, necessary, well written and, above all, fair article.

When Greece is not Ancient: Colonialism, Eurocentrism and Classics by Katerina Apokatanidis