Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On the second day of the seminar, we were introduced to and joined by Professor Paschalis Kitromilides, Professor of Political Science at the University of Athens and Director of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies.  After a lively introduction, Professor Kitromilides presented an engaging lecture entitled Hellenism in Asia Minor: Notions and Clarifications.  Of particular interest was his use of successive historiographical cartographic recordings of the Asia Minor Peninsula and the Levant to illustrate how toponyms and changes in toponyms affect local memory and identity.

Later in the day, Professor Papademetriou led a discussion on a reading assignment from Speros Vryonis’ chapter on The Byzantine Residue in Turkish Anatolia taken from his seminal work The Decline and Fall of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor: and the process of Islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century (Berkely 1986).  In his introductory remarks, Professor Papademetriou introduced the figure of Speros Vryonis and his work on the transformation of Asia Minor, to wit, how Islamic culture became appropriated in the wake of the demographic shift that followed the conquest and migration.  Special attention was given to the ecclesial elements of the historical narrative, notably the church leadership and the transformation of the episcopacy in Asia Minor and its effects on the the Orthodox Christian community.

The dialogue that followed dealt with questions such as

  • How does absorption of culture occur?
  • What are the mechanisms by which language and culture are acquired?
  • Where is the origin of the Karamanlid community?
  • What is the Byzantine residue and how did it remain?

After the discussion, the seminar turned to instructional work on use and analysis of the primary source files of the oral history archive.  An in depth explanation of the organizational taxonomy  of the file format  was presented, following by sample exercises using actual files to acquaint the group with usage of the material.

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