Uses and abuses of History: the first Public History international conference in Greece

  Cover-Teliko    Between the 30rd of August and the 1st of September, the IFPH-FIHP (International Federation for Public History) will sponsor a Public History Conference in Greece. 

This Greek Public history symposium could become starting 2014-2015, a regular International Public History Summer School sponsored by the IFPH-FIHP. 

 The conference is entitled Use and Abuse of History: the Public History in Greece and is organized by the University of Macedonia thanks to the Municipality of VolosThis Greek Public history symposium focuses on several aspects and issues that are central to Public History discussions in continental Europe. 

 I met one of the scientific promoter, Giorgos Antoniou, (School of Humanities, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, g.antoniou at at the European University Institute in Florence when he was a Ph.D. student in the History Department. In 2006, at the end of his stay at the EUI, Antoniou co-edited with Professor Luisa Passerini a special issue of the Italian contemporary history journal Memoria e Ricerca on the Memory of Civil Wars in contemporary Societies. Antoniou took recently part in our IFPH-FIHP panel Public History: Cohesive or Disruptive ? Remembering Civil Wars and Violent Sub-National Conflicts, at the annual Meeting of the National Council on Public History, (NCPH) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 17-20, 2013, “Knowing your Public(s). The Significance of Audiences in Public History”. 

This panel, as you can see below, focused on some of the themes that will be discussed during the Public History conference in Greece this month. 

Dirk Moses (European University Institute)will deliver the keynote speech on How and Why the Use and Abuse of History is Inescapable, Inevitable and Invaluable for Public Life; Simon Prince (Canterbury University) will deliver a paper on The Failure to Address the Past in Northern Ireland. I will talk about the “History of Public History”: From Local to Global and back again: The History and Internationalization of Public History. Greek participants will analyze several key issues concerning Public Historians confronted with the use and abuse of history in today’s Greek divided society. 

Public History: Cohesive or Disruptive ? Remembering Civil Wars and Violent Sub-National Conflicts

 “When Public Historians address, through different media and languages, the history of Civil Wars with their opposed and contested memories, do they actually provide a better public understanding of the past? Telling the history of civil wars and violent turmoil is a slippery terrain for Public Historians, one that entails a serious risk. The irreducibly factious memories of civil wars serve to justify and sustain today’s confrontation of political ideologies. Some national societies were -during their recent nation building processes- so heavily divided that their different communities engaged in destructive civil wars and violent confrontations. The opposed memories that emerge after such wars and confrontations, shape a reality characterized by a complex historical heritage and a complex mixtures of ideological deadlocks and political confrontations. The work of Public Historians becomes in such cases particularly difficult. If a Public Historian engages in the celebrations of Civil Wars in contemporary cultural and political debates or through historical museums  and exhibitions, websites and digital media, s/he has to be aware of the influence that opposed memories play in shaping the way through which past events are presented to the public. This raises a key question, having to do with the minimum requirements of a “commonly accepted history”. Is being aware of the difficulties that dealing with opposed memories entails enough for a historian to write a commonly accepted history of Civil Wars? Or, on the opposite, is a commonly accepted history possible only many generations after the war has taken place, when opposed memories are likely to be forgotten, and the past can no longer be used to as a divisive tool? Civil Wars Public History deals with collective identities at different levels: from local memories to the construction of nations’ common past. This is true also of the cases in which it is disputed whether a “Civil war” actually occurred (e.g.  the resistance to the Vichy government in France or the Northern Ireland conflict).”




This is the English version of the conference program. 


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Municipality of Volos, Conference Hall

August 30th – September 1st 2013

Friday August 30th


 11:3Opening – Welcome

 Opening Lecture

12:00  12:30

 Serge Noiret (European University Institute, IFPH), From Local to Global and back again: The History and Internationalisation of Public History 


Session ΙInternet and Public History

Chairman: Andreas Andreou (University of Western Macedonia)

Maria Bontila (PhD in History), Internet adventures of Public History: A case study.

Dimitris Bilalis (University of Thessaly), The nation, the parasite and the virus. Aspects of historical culture in the Greek web

Xenia Eleftheriou (PhD candidate, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Public History as a conflictual issue: The Holocaust of Greek Jews in the Internet

 Lunch Break


16:30 – 17.00

 Simon Prince (Canterbury University), «No Lack of Ghosts»: The Failure to Address the Past in Northern Ireland

 17.00 – 18:30

Session IΙ: Historiography and Public History

Chairman: Polymeris Voglis (University of Thessaly)

 Stratos Dordanas (University of Macedonia), Goldhagen, the “New Wave” and the “Dialogues about History”: Aspects and terms of Public History in Germany and in Greece


Elli Lemonidou (University of Patras), Public History: The international experience and the Greek paradigm

Tasoula Vervenioti (PhD in History), Groups of oral history. Between public and academic history


Key-note Lecture

 Dirk Moses (European University Institute)How and Why the Use and Abuse of History is Inescapable, Inevitable and Invaluable for Public Life


Session ΙΙΙ: Oral Testimonies and Public History

Chairwoman: Afroditi Athanasopoulou (University of Cyprus)

 Ifigeneia Vamvakidou (University of Western Macedonia) – Andromachi Solaki (historian) – Athanasios Tsiglopoulos (pre-school teacher), Oral history and memories in the Lofoi of Florina

Vassilis Dalkavoukis (Democritus University of Thrace) – Katerina Tsekou (PhD in History), Building Public History in the space. The case of the monuments of Komotini

Andreas Andreou (University of Western Macedonia) – Kostas Kasvikis (University of Western Macedonia)Thessaloniki – Bitola: Public versions of Macedonian history in two statues of King Philip II

 Saturday August 31st

 9:00 – 11:00

Session IV: Literature and Public History I

Chairman: Nikos Marantzidis (University of Macedonia)

 Giorgos Kokkinos (University of the Aegean) – Panagiotis Kimourtzis (University of the Aegean) – Maria Matousi (PhD candidate, University of the Aegean), History and literature: Caresses, slaps and the Slap-tree by Aris Maragkopoulos

Nikos Kokkomelis (PhD candidateUniversité Paris Sorbonne – Paris IV), From witnesses to “heirs”: A new kind of narrative? The current Holocaust literature between history and fiction

Anastasia Mitsopoulou (PhD in History), First World War: The memory in Greek literature

Lena Divani (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), When literature opens space for the history of the minorities: The Silver-grass is Blossoming by V. Gkourogiannis and the Calumny of Blood by V. Boutos

 11:30 – 14:00

Session V: Literature and Public History ΙΙ

Chairwoman: Lena Divani (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

 Afroditi Athanasopoulou (University of Cyprus), Cyprus between “mother Greece” and “stepmother England”:  Writers’ attestations

Alexandros Bazoukis (Cyprus Pedagogical Institute), The contribution of Greek writers and intellectuals in the dialogue about the history and “fates” of Hellenism in the post-war period

Iakovos Anyfantakis (PhD candidate, Panteion University), From the “politics of violence” to the “political violence”:  Representations of fratricidal violence in the post-war literary production

Elena Davlamanou (teacher, NGO Citizens in Knowledge), Approaching the historical novel for children

  Lunch Break

 16.30 – 18:30

Session VΙMemory and Public History

Chairman: Panagiotis Kimourtzis (University of the Aegean)

 Anna-Maria Droumpouki (PhD Candidate, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Greeks as the “new Jews”: The update version of Occupation in crisis-struck Greece

Elena Striftompola (historian), Lessons of Public History by the Greek Parliament: The case of the law 1285/1982, “On the recognition of the National Resistance of the Greek population against the occupation troops, 1941-1944”

Giorgos Antoniou (International Hellenic University) – Eleni Paschaloudi (PhD in Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies), Damnatio memoriae: The 1940s during the 1980s

Gavrilis Lampatos (PhD Candidate, University of the Aegean), Early forms of public history in the 1960s


16.30 – 18.30

Session VIΙ: Press and Public History

Chairman: Spyros Kakouriotis (journalist)

 Ilias G. Skoulidas (Technological Institute of Epirus), Continuities and discontinuities of the narratives about a “neighbor”: The Greek press and the Albanians in the post-Cold War period

 Georgia Sarikoudi (PhD candidate, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), The personal narrations of Greek fugitives in Czechoslovakia in the pages of Agonistis

 Konstantinos Katsanos (PhD in History), The public negotiation of the Macedonian issue in the years between the end of the Civil War and the Military Junta

  19:00 – 21:30

Session VIIΙCinema, Theatre and Public History

Chairman: Nikos Demertzis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

 Giorgos Andritsos (PhD in History), Persecutions of Greek Jews in the Greek fiction films from 1945 to 1981

Thanassis Vasileiou (PhD in Studies on Cinematography), Days of ’36 [1972] by Theo Angelopoulos: History as a cinematographic form

Stavroula Mavrogeni (University of Western Macedonia), Filmic production about the Greek Civil War in Yugoslavia/FYROM

Giorgos Mouratidis (anthropologist), The Right, the Left and Mr. Pantelis: The events of December 1944 on the scene of popular theatre

Christos Dermentzopoulos (University of Ioannina), Popular culture, public dialogue and national identity, on the occasion of the projection of the film Parthenon by Costa Gavras in the New Acropolis Museum



19:00 – 21:00

 Session IΧEducation and Public History Ι

Chairman: Dimitris Bilalis (University of Thessaly)

 Despina Karakatsani (University of Peloponnese), Pavlina Nikolopoulou (PhD Candidate, University of Peloponnese), Photo images, memory and history. Depictions and readings in the history of education

 Vassiliki Sakka (PhD in Education of Adults), “Approaching the past critically”: in search for visual, media and historical literacy. Production of a historical documentary from students. Public History and school

 Kostas Kasvikis (University of Western Macedonia), The “other” past: Public uses of archaeology in official and unofficial education

Georgia Kipouropoulou (PhD CandidateUniversity of Western Macedonia), A comparative examination of two history textbooks

 Sunday September 1st


Session ΧEducation and Public History ΙΙ


59.170Chairman: Giorgos Antoniou (International Hellenic University)


Haris Athanasiadis (University of Ioannina), “National-populists” against “national-nihilists”: The public debate about the history textbook for the sixth class of elementary school In modern and recent times (2006-07)

Vaggelis Tsianakas (PhD in Pedagogics), Turkish Rule and Hellenism in Greek and Turkish history textbooks: The two sides of the same coin 

Zeta Papandreou (PhD in History Didactics), The massacre of Distomo: Η σφαγή του Διστόμου: Research approach of a traumatic and disputed historical event

  11:30- 13:00

Roundtable Discussion

Giorgos Kokkinos, Nikos Marantzidis, Andreas Andreou, Nikos Demertzis, Lena Divani, Dimitris Bilalis, Elli Lemonidou.

 Scientific and organizing committee

 Andreas Andreou (University of Western Macedonia), Giorgos Antoniou (International Hellenic University), Nikos Demertzis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Spyros Kakouriotis (journalist), Giorgos Kokkinos (University of the Aegean), Elli Lemonidou (University of Patras), Nikos Marantzidis (University of Macedonia), Zeta Papandreou (PhD in History Didactics), Eleni Paschaloudi (PhD in Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies)


 Network for the Study of Civil Wars

Printing is sponsored by Epikentro Publishers.


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