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Dream nation: 200 years on



Dream nation: 200 years on


22 March 2021


What is the role of the nation in today’s social and political landscape? What aspirations of social cohesion, equality, longevity and prosperity are expressed through the nation as both a symbolic structure and an ongoing sociopolitical project? To what extent are these aspirations disrupted and undermined, always in the name of the nation? What projects of violence, erasure and disavowal lie behind the national fantasy? How do they still haunt the national everyday? How does the nation still matter and could it also matter differently?

In the week celebrating the bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence, TORCH returns to these questions in the frame of their Local Cases, Global Debates series. Indeed, Greece has been a prime example of a modern nation-building process, involved in the dynamics of enlightenment, ethnicity, (crypto)colonialism, orientalism, capital extractionism and the North-South dialectic. Modern Greek studies, as a field, has been framed time and again as a response to such questions.

Rethinking Modern Greek Studies proposes to re-visit a classic text of the field: Stathis Gourgouris’ Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization and the Institution of Modern Greece, published in the 1990s, in a period of heightened nationalist feeling especially in the Balkans. TORCH invites Gourgouris to join in an open discussion on the legacies and the contemporary relevance of his 1996 influential monograph. Joined by colleagues in the field, the event will reflect both on the national/postnational legacies of Hellas, but also on the changes in Modern Greek Studies since the first publication of Dream Nation.

TORCH is, of course, mindful of the moment this discussion is being held, in all the political complexity as well as the celebratory overtones currently experienced in Greece, and aims to take this critically into account.

(Edited description from the organiser’s website)

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Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization and the Institution of Modern Greece (25th anniversary edition)

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