Greek historiography

Despite new developments in historical research in Greece since 1975, Greek historiography is still marked by introspection, a problem that indirectly emerged at a recent conference, «Historiography in Modern Greece,» organized by the National Research Foundation’s Modern Greek Research Center. The organizing committee was chaired by prominent historian Spyros Asdrahas. Attended by many distinguished historians, both Greek and foreign, the conference looked at a number of parameters and raised several issues. Greek introspection was a challenge for the conference itself, or at least Greek historiography’s inability to move ahead on an international level. There is no doubt that the quality of historical research in Greece has made great advances, as was pointed out by Professor Paschalis Kitromilidis. Younger generations of historians over the past 25 years have introduced different approaches and methodologies and are expanding the field of research. Nevertheless, historical research in Greece is still a domestic affair. Advancements in historical research have rarely created links with international centers, therefore, modern Greece is almost non-existent in international dialogue. A major issue is language – the lack of opportunities open to Greek historians, writing in Greek, to enter the international bibliography. Obviously English is the only language in which historians can communicate with their colleagues abroad. Very few Greek studies have been published abroad (perhaps because only a few are submitted) and correspondingly few articles are written in English by Greek historians for distinguished periodicals, the tool and showcase for new ideas around the world. The self-marginalization of Greek historical research and its exclusion from comparative sectors in the science of history mean that Greece has maintained a very low profile. Greek subjects are easily included in many international areas of research (Balkans, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Near East, Ottoman Empire, Southeastern Europe), but these areas have not been exploited to the full. Competition, meanwhile, is extremely tough in the international arena and rejection, even if unjust, is extremely likely. The Modern Greek Research Center is aiming to publish an annual historical review in English, in which translations of Greek studies can be published and thereby acquire an international reputation as a forum for Greek historians within the international community. Over the last few decades, as younger researchers have attempted to revitalize Constantine Paparigopoulos’s historical and ideological approach to Hellenism, the subject matter has expanded. In the 1980s, research funded by state banks gave an impetus to economic history and gradually led to considerable debate regarding social history. The 1940s are attracting much attention, in contrast to research into the Greek War of Independence which is in decline. Based on comparative research, and using a theory based on factual evidence, it is time for Greek historical research to look beyond its borders.

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