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Narrating the 1821 Revolution: historiographical patterns and institutions



Narrating the 1821 Revolution: historiographical patterns and institutions


13 October 2021


"The lecture focuses on the study of the 1821 Revolution in the 19th and 20th centuries by attempting to point out its main milestones and to connect it with the institutionalisation and development of historical studies. In this direction it refers to a number of institutions (universities, archives, scholars’ associations, research centres, museums), within which the teaching and research on the struggle developed. Starting from the teaching of the revolution in the University of Athens, reference will be made to the creation of the first archival collections and publications, at a time when the fighters of 1821 were actively involved in public life. Focusing on the gradual commemoration of the struggle with ceremonies, such as those for the 50th anniversary, the creation of a number of institutions that have contributed to its historicisation in a long time period will be explored. The establishment of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece and the organisation of the Exhibition of the Relics of the Holy Struggle (1884), the creation of the General State Archives (1914), the celebration of the centenary of the revolution (1930) with the participation of many public and private institutions, the creation of university chairs, the establishment of the research centres of the Academy of Athens, the creation of the Hellenic National Research Foundation were breakthroughs in this direction. During the same period, the publication of the social significance of the 1821 revolution by Yanis Kordatos (1924) marked the beginning of the conflict over the interpretations of the Revolution by the academic and Marxist historiography, as expressed by different scholars and institutions, a controversy that lasted until 1974. The fall of the junta marked the end of the division of Greek historiography and the beginning of a new period for the study of the revolution that was connected with the institutional expansion of historical studies, the establishment of new institutions of research and study, but also the development and internationalisation of the field.

The starting point is the assumption that the institutions were not just the framework for teaching and researching the 1821 Revolution, but decisively influenced its content and its conceptions as the major event of Greek national history. The historiographical elaborations of the struggle within the institutions were linked to the political and social situation of that time and were an integral part of the formation of political genealogies and identities."

(Edited and translated description from organiser’s website)

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