Stathis Gourgouris, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University

Event Date: 
Friday, November 22, 1996 - 12:45

"Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization, and the Institution of Modern Greece" Professor Stathis Gourgouris, Department of Comparative Literature and the Hellenic Studies Program at Princeton University, presented a seminar on his recently published book, Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization and the Institution of Modern Greece (Stanford University Press). Challenging standard analyses of nation formation and of philhellenism as these had emerged from Enlightenment thought, Gourgouris gave an overview of his study which discusses the institution of Modern Greece as the "dream nation", an example of the colonialist European civilization project. An early critic of the book is Edward Said, Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University who has summarized the methodological orientations of the book. "Gourgouris' Dream Nation," he remarks, "establishes a new kind of cultural criticism: it weaves together the methods of history, literary and psychoanalytic theory, comparative literature, and political science. This is a bracing, touching, exciting work, catapulting its author to eminence." He opened the floor to a number of issues discussed by the seminar participants: the evolution of Greece's history as a "nation" and its relationship to the formation of the modern state; and explored arguments for the consequences of the philhellenist project for Greek Enlightenment intellectuals.