Prof. Dimitris Plantzos “Archaeopolitics: The Second Life of Statues.”
Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 11:00am
Speaker: Prof. Dimitris Plantzos
Opening Remarks, Sadia Abbas, Director for the Center for European Studies.
Introduced and Moderated by Prof. Dimitris Krallis, Director SNF center for Hellenic Studies,
Abstract: As archaeological finds go, statues tend to be rather scarce; it is not very often that
you meet an archaeologist who has actually found one, let alone in a state of even relative
completeness. On the other hand, statues and statuary tend to be strongly associated with the
idea of archaeological searching and finding, as well as common perceptions of what one finds
in a museum – especially one specializing in classical antiquity. Gradually, and ever so
spectacularly, statues in the modern world have come to symbolize antiquity itself, and the
ideas randomly associated with it – from intellectualism and democracy to beauty,
sportsmanship and sensuality. In this paper, I will be discussing ways in which ancient statues
tend to become entangled into contemporary political agendas. My examples will be drawn
from a number of Mediterranean countries and several historical occurrences from the 20th
and the 21st century. I use classical statuary and its modern receptions as a case study through
which to investigate the relatively new concept of archaeopolitics (deploying notions of and
over antiquity as a way of doing politics in the present) and its accompanying idea of
archaeomentality (attempting to govern a population or its segments through constructed
perceptions of the past).
This talk is open to the public, but registration is required.