Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Athanasio Papalexandrou


Associate ProfessorPh.D., Princeton University

Athanasio Papalexandrou

Contact

Interests


Early Greek Visual Culture, Interconnections between Greece & Near East, Art & Archaeology of Cyprus, Greek Sanctuaries. Art as a Means ofCommunication in Preliterate Societies

Biography


Assistant Professor Nassos Papalexandrou, a specialist in Greek Art and Archaeology, joined the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History in 2002. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University focusing on the ritual dimensions of Early Greek figurative art. Prior to teaching at The University of Texas at Austin, he taught at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and spent the 2001-02 academic year as a research fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. His first book, The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece was published in 2005. He is currently working on a second book that explores the role of monsters in the arts and rituals of Early Greece. He offers undergraduate classes on various aspects of Greek Art and Archaeology (Myth in Images in Greek and Roman Antiquity, Art and Archaeology of Greek Sanctuaries, Visual Culture of Preliterate Greece). His graduate seminars explore various themes regarding the Art and Culture of Early Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean (11-6 centuriesBCE), such as the Orientalizing Phenomenon and Art as a Means of Communication in Preliterate Societies. Since 1999 Papalexandrou has been excavating a large public building of Cypro-Archaic date (ca. late 6th c. BCE) at Polis tis Chysochou, Cyprus.

Courses


T C 358 • Parthenon Through The Ages

42920 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CRD 007B

Description: Admit it! You have known about the Parthenon since your early years in elementary school. You probably take for granted its coveted role as the iconic monument of western civilization. You may also be aware that the monument is at the center of a cultural controversy evolving around the fate of its architectural marbles at the British museum. This class will center on the Parthenon in order to unravel its mystique, its history, its contemporary relevance and the implications of a good number of debates around it. Our working premise will be that no understanding of the value of the Parthenon is possible unless one is aware of the various functions the monument embodied throughout its history (ancient temple, Christian temple, muslim mosque, archaeological site, world icon, flagship of cultural agendas etc). Moreover, the monument offers itself as a most appropriate portal to the core ideas of western civilization, to classical culture, and its contemporary relevance or lack thereof. Our class will address debates (see details below) ranging from “Who owns the past?” and “Why does the past matter?” to “What is an honest restoration of a historical monument and what are the most urgent dilemmas?” and “What is a just solution to the Elgin Marbles controversy?” even as it introduces disciplines and methodologies for studying the past and creations like the Parthenon.  Our inquiry or preparation for debates will take us to various resources around the UT campus (Blanton Museum of Art, Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities, Classics Library) whereas discussions in class will center on directed reading and writing assignments. No matter what we all decide about the value of the Parthenon in the contemporary world, or the outcome of the contemporary debates, studying and debating it is fun! 

Discussions of critical readings will provide essential background for a number of well-structured debates that involve active student participation:

1)    Students engage in the debate on the architect Manolis Korres’ proposals for the preservation and restoration of the Parthenon pronaos (study of Charter of Venice and its principles; students evaluate five restoration proposals and debate their structural, aesthetic, and pedagogical merits and dismerits). Students follow the same process as the international committee of experts who evaluates and votes on the restoration of the pronaos.

2)    On the basis of critical reading of both ancient sources and contemporary texts students engage in the political debates of the Athenian demos, the deliberative body that approved of the building program of the Parthenon. This requires immersion to the critical reading of texts and an appreciation of the principle of accountability in Athenian democracy.

3)    Students evaluate a new theory of interpretation for the Parthenon frieze: an idiosyncratic view of the Panathenaic procession (the dominant theory since the 18th century) or a sacrificial procession of early Athenian legend (students study how Joan Connelly [AJA 1996] constructs her argument on the basis of written sources and archaeological evidence)?

4)    The so-called “Elgin” Marbles controversy: students study and reflect on the arguments of the Greek state and the British Museum, form their opinions, and actively engage in the debate (classroom sessions).

5)    A quintessential dimension of (4) is the debate on the value of universal museums (e.g. British Museums) versus that of local “national” museums (e.g. New Acropolis Museums). This has a museological component (students engage in critical discussion of the British Museum and the New Acropolis museum) and a cultural/ethical component (Who owns the past? Who decides on the custodianship of antiquity? What is a cultural debate and what is at stake?).

Possible Texts/Readings:
Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Whose Culture Is It?” in The New York Review of Books, February 9, 38-41 also accessible on line

Beard, M. The Parthenon (London 2010)

Bouras, Ch. et al. ed. Acropolis Restored British Museum Research Publications no 187 (London 2012)

Burkert, Walter, “The Meaning and Function of the Temple in Classical Greece.” In M.V. Fox ed. Temple in Society (Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake 1988) 27-47

Cohen, B. “Deconstructing the Acropolis” AJA 114.3 (2010) 745-753

Connelly, J.B. “Parthenon and Parthenoi: a mythological interpretation of the Parthenon frieze” American Journal of Archaeology 100 (1996) 53-80.

___________. The Parthenon Enigma (New York and London 2014)

Cuno, J. Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over our Ancient Heritage (Princeton 2008)

______. Whose Culture? The Promise of Museums and the Debate over Antiquities (Princeton 2009)

Eakin, H.  “Who Should Own the World Antiquities?’ The New York Review of Books, May 14, 2009

Economakis, R. ed. Acropolis Restoration: the CCAM Interventions (London 1994) 86-87, 89-91, 134-135, 193

Martin Filler, “Grading the New Acropolis” The New York Review of Books vol. 56.14 (2009) 53-56

Hamilakis, Y. “Stories from Exile: Fragments from the Cultural Biography of the Parthenon (or “Elgin”) Marbles” World Archeology 31.2 (1999) 303-320

Kaldellis,  A. The Christian Parthenon: Classicism and Pilgrimage in Byzantine Athens  (Cambridge and New York 2009) (reviewed by N. Papalexandrou in http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2009/2009-12-18)

Ling, Roger, “The Sculptures of the Parthenon” in R Ling ed. Making Classical Art: Process and Practice (2000) 124-140.

King, D. The Elgin Marbles (London: Hutchinson 2006)

Lekakis, S. “The Cultural Property Debate,” in A Companion to Greek Art, ed. Tyler Jo Smith and Dimitris Plantzos, 2 vols., Malden, MA, 2012, II: 683-97

Marinatos, N. “What were Greek Sanctuaries? A Synthesis” In N. Marinatos, R. Hägg eds. Greek Sanctuaries: New Approaches (Routledge: London and New York 1993) 228-233.

Mee, Christopher and Antony Spawforth, Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (Oxford 2001) pp. 46-57.

Yalouri, Eleana, The Acropolis: Global Fame, Local Claim (Oxford 2001) 

Assignments/grading:

*Research paper (12-15pp. 40%): involves presentation of project in abstract form with initial bibliography. Students submit preliminary draft to be reviewed by both instructor and peers and then they edit and rewrite as many times as needed to get it right. The Parthenon is so diverse that students may decide on an analytical approach putting to work their special stengths and expertise (in the past students have written papers involving analytical mathematics, engineering principles, computational analysis, literary probes and biological studies related to preservation).

*Three shorter opinion papers (2-3 pp. each, 3X5%) in which students formulate and express clearly an informed opinion on two of the debate topics delineated above.

*Class participation: 45% (involves active participation in all aspects of class debates, short presentations, and a presentation to classmates of the results of research project).

Biography:

Associate Professor Nassos Papalexandrou, a specialist in Greek Art and Archaeology, joined the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History in 2002. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University focusing on the ritual dimensions of Early Greek figurative art. Prior to teaching at The University of Texas at Austin, he taught at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and spent the 2001-02 academic year as a research fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. His first book, The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece was published in 2005. He is currently working on a second book that explores the role of monsters in the arts and rituals of Early Greece. He offers undergraduate classes on various aspects of Greek Art and Archaeology (Myth in Images in Greek and Roman Antiquity, Art and Archaeology of Greek Sanctuaries, Visual Culture of Preliterate Greece). His graduate seminars explore various themes regarding the Art and Culture of Early Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean (11-6 centuriesBCE), such as the Orientalizing Phenomenon and Art as a Means of Communication in Preliterate Societies. Since 1999 Papalexandrou has been excavating a large public building of Cypro-Archaic date (CA. late 6th C. BCE) at Polis tis Chysochou, Cyprus.

C C 340 • Art/Archeo Ancient Near East

33280 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM DFA 2.204

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 340 • Parthenon Through The Ages

33653 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM ART 1.120

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

ARH 362 • Myth In Images In Clascl Antiq

20605 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM DFA 2.204
(also listed as C C 340)

.

MES 320 • Art/Archaeol Of Anc Near East

41600 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM ART 1.120
(also listed as ARH 361L)

A vast and complicated mosaic of peoples and cultures, the civilization of the ancient Near East is crucial for understanding the origins of western civilization. This course will survey crucial aspects of the dynamic interaction of landscape and people, the development of urbanism and social complexity, cross-cultural encounters, and the development of crucial phenomena such as the development of writing, figuration, art, and monumental architecture. Last but not least, this course will explore the recent shaping of the region as an arena for colonial action which resulted in the dissemination of its cultural treasures all around the world. Considering that the contemporary Near East is essentially an artificial construct of colonial powers, it is imperative that we consider in depth how this situation affects contemporary understanding and analysis of material culture and art. 

 

Texts:

To be provided by the instructor.

 

Grading:

There will be three hourly exams, term paper, and a major component of the grade will be determined by participation in class discussions or presentations. More information will be provided by the instructor.

 

C C 340 • Parthenon Through The Ages

32045 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM DFA 2.204

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 340 • Myth In Images In Clascl Antiq

32825 • Fall 2008
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM DFA 2.204

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 383 • Orient Phenom Early Gk World

32920 • Fall 2008
Meets F 9:00AM-12:00PM ART 3.432

C C 383 Studies in Classical Civilization:

Studies in various aspects of Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture.

C C 340 • Art & Archaeol Of Greek Sancts

32667 • Fall 2006
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM ART 1.110

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 340 • Vis Culs Mediterranean Islands

31050 • Spring 2006
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM ART 1.120

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 383 • Parthenon Through The Ages

31165 • Spring 2006
Meets F 9:00AM-12:00PM ART 3.432

C C 383 Studies in Classical Civilization:

Studies in various aspects of Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture.

C C 340 • Vis Culs Mediterranean Islands

29675 • Spring 2005
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM ART 1.120

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 383 • Monster/Fear/Uncanny In Gk Art

29780 • Spring 2005
Meets M 9:00AM-12:00PM ART 3.432

C C 383 Studies in Classical Civilization:

Studies in various aspects of Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture.

C C 340 • Greek Art And Architecture

30340 • Fall 2004
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM ART 1.110

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 340 • Greek Painting

28450 • Spring 2004
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM DFA 2.204

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 383 • Visual Culture Of Early Greece

28568 • Spring 2004
Meets M 9:00AM-12:00PM ART 3.432

C C 383 Studies in Classical Civilization:

Studies in various aspects of Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture.

C C 340 • Art & Archaeol Of Greek Sancts

28800 • Fall 2003
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM ART 1.120

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 340 • Myth In Images In Clascl Antiq

28025 • Spring 2003
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM DFA 2.204

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 383 • Orient Phenom In Early Gk Art

28147 • Spring 2003
Meets M 9:00AM-12:00PM ART 3.432

C C 383 Studies in Classical Civilization:

Studies in various aspects of Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture.

C C 340 • Visual Cul Preliterate Greece

28550 • Fall 2002
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM DFA 2.204

C C 340 Advanced Topics in Classical Archaeology:

Detailed study of topics such as architecture, sculpture, or topography of sites. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

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