NYU Summer in Athens strives to provide students with a means of understanding Greek culture within the context of lived experience. Special emphasis is placed on visiting and exploring significant cultural and historical sites, not only in Athens but also in other parts of Greece. Field trips, cultural activities, and guest lecturers constitute an integral component of the program; students are expected to attend and actively participate in all of them.
NYU Summer in Athens combines classroom study of the language, history, literature, politics, art, and culture of Greece with cultural activities and field trips to introduce students to all aspects of Greek life. Local artists, scholars, and politicians often give presentations and lectures in class. Approaching modern Hellenic society and culture from an interdisciplinary perspective, the program provides students with an appreciation of the history of modern Greek language and literature and an understanding of how the Greeks have borne their classical, Byzantine, and Ottoman historical and political experiences, even as they translate them into the modern era.
Classes are held at the Al Andar Center, a three-story Bauhaus building conveniently located in the historical center of Athens. The center has several classrooms, study areas, a library, gallery space, screening rooms, patio, and recreation areas. The surrounding neighborhood is active, with many cafes, restaurants, cinemas, stores, and opportunities to enjoy one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
All students participating in the program are required to live in NYU-provided housing. Students stay in double rooms at the five-star St. George Hotel, a modern, air-conditioned hotel situated in the fashionable Kolonaki district. The hotel’s location, in a lively section of Athens, offers students the opportunity to enjoy a neighborhood rich in cultural diversions and leisure activities. Breakfast, linens, and a daily room cleaning service are provided. Hotel amenities include a roof garden with pool.
The program's trips and excursions are under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and are meant to encourage students to discover and experience modern Greece through the various lenses of its rich history. Activities may include walking tours of Athens, visits to monuments and museums, evening outings to dramatic and musical performances, and a half-day trip to Attica's beautiful coastline and Poseidon's temple at Cape Sounion. Weekend trips may include the royal tombs of Mycenae, the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and the volcanic Cycladic island of Santorini. This year's program may also include a visit to the island of Crete, known not only for its historical and archaeological importance but also for its geophysical uniqueness and breathtaking beauty.
Excursions may also include the impressive medieval settlement of Mystras, the capital of Byzantine Greece, and the imposing Byzantine-Venetian fortified towns in mountainous Arcadia in the Peloponnese. There are also organized visits to significant sites of modern Greek history, including Nafplion, the capital of the Greek state after the 1821 War of Independence and a city known for its beautiful examples of 19th-century neoclassical architecture, as well as the Polytechnic School of Athens, site of the 1973 student uprising against the dictatorship. All these sites offer the unique opportunity for long walks, hiking, and exploration.
No previous language experience required for HEL-UA 9103.
Prerequisite for HEL-UA 9104: HEL-UA 103 or placement test.
As an introduction to modern Greek, this course provides students with the fundamentals of grammar, syntax, oral expression, listening comprehension, reading, and composition. Students develop the skills and vocabulary necessary to read simple texts and hold basic conversations. Students are introduced to modern Greek culture, history, and society, since the ultimate goal of the course is to enrich their understanding of multiple, living Greek realities through the language. Teaching materials include current newspaper articles, graded literary passages, songs, and various linguistic games.
Prerequisite: HEL-UA 104 or placement test.
Designed for students who already have a familiarity with modern Greek. Students are expected to be acquainted with the most significant structures of grammar and syntax and to have acquired the foundations for basic conversation in Greek. The course introduces students to more complex linguistic and grammatical analysis, advanced composition, and graded reading. It also provides further practice in speaking, and works to enrich the student's vocabulary. Readings and discussions of selected works of prose, poetry, and theatre serve as an introduction to aspects of modern Greek civilization and as an occasion for comprehensive discussions of contemporary Greek society.
Conducted in English.
This course focuses primarily on selected plays of the three leading Athenian dramatists: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Plays are analyzed critically in relation to their cultural, historical, and theatrical importance. Situating the plays within the history of Greek drama, the course also assesses their continuing influence on 20th-century notions of performance. Students have the unique opportunity of attending performances of the plays by renowned theatre troupes in the ancient theatre of Herod Atticus in Athens and in that of Epidaurus. Sample Syllabus.
What are the origins and consequences of the financial crisis that have shaken Greece and the European Union? Who will pay the social costs of the economic recession? Will the crisis have a significant impact on democracy, citizenship, and individual and collective rights? This course will challenge monocausal explanations of the crisis, and discuss the contributions that prominent scholars with differing beliefs and emphasis have advanced on these issues. While maintaining a focus on the global dimension of the Greek financial crisis, and its entanglements with the European economy, politics, and identity, we will examine the peculiarity of the Greek national context. We will explore the present-day situation of crisis and conflict in light of wider historical issues regarding the making of the modern Greek state, nation, and society. We also will consider how the attention that the financial crisis recently has drawn on Greece interrogates the antithetical, yet, interrelated, myths of Greece as either the cradle of Western civilization, or the site of its decadence. Class discussion will engage with broader issues of conflict, trauma, and resilience within societies exposed to long-lasting economic unrest, and analyze multiple responses relating to class, gender, age, as well as to the condition of citizens, migrants, or refugees.
Conducted in English.
Assuming that Athens serves as a window into Greek history and culture, this course provides students with an opportunity to encounter Greece through the architecture, monuments, art, and music of Athens. From its early beginnings as a center for art and literature, for commerce and industry, to its emergence as the capital of the new Greek state, Athens has always been a city in transition, a museum of Greek history as well as an active, living entity. It retains the traces of the political, economic, religious, and cultural history of Greece—in its streets, its buildings, its glorious artifacts and ruins—even as it struggles to move forward. Students are introduced to the beauty and history of a city whose identity is inextricably bound to mythology and to the history of a country that many regard as the birthplace of Western civilization. Visits to archaeological centers, museums, music bars, and several of the city's most important cultural and historical sites are included. Sample syllabus.
Conducted in English.
In the world's literary and intellectual imagination, Greece is a land of ruins and monuments. Conceptualizing and idealizing Greece's ancient past, archaeology has played a crucial role in the discursive and ideological formation of modern Greece and Neohellenism. In this course, students are introduced to several of Greece's most significant archaeological sites - sites that bear the traces of Greece's prehistoric era, its classical past, the Roman conquest, the Byzantine period, and beyond. The course seeks to assess the various ways in which contemporary Greece has borne the burden of its antiquity and how its "past glories" are inscribed in its present cultural life as a modern Mediterranean, Balkan, and European country located on the crossroads of the East and West. For this to be achieved, we will read stories of Greek travel from a host of writers. The course considers materials drawn not only from archaeology but also from anthropology, travel accounts, literature, and cultural geography. Field trips to archaeological sites and visits to museums are included. Through individual projects and written assignments, students are expected to develop their skills of observation and analysis, as well as pursue an in-depth "reading" not only of Greece's past, but also of present day Greece in all its complexity and richness. Sample syllabus.
Conducted in English.
For description, see HEL-UA 9143 above. Graduate students will need to complete additional assignments in coordination with the instructor and faculty director.