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Guest speaker stresses importance of Greek, Albanian history

Addressing international issues pertaining to the effects of colonization in the 20th Century, a professor from Greece gave a vivid picture of the events leading up to the strict guarding of the border between Albania and Greece, events that inspired people from both lands to express their artistry through writing.

Yiorgos D. Kalogeras, a Greek professor of English literature at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, addressed an audience of about 25 students from the USF English and history departments Wednesday night in the Grace Allen Room of the Tampa Library.

Kalogeras presented a research paper titled, “Unfixing the Boundaries and Patrolling the Borders: Greek American Political and Literary Interventions on the Question of the Greco-Albanian Frontier in Epirus 1912 — 1919,” which explained how issues such as Greek and Albanian colonization, dispersion and ethnic background instigated artistic expression in literature.

Before presenting his paper, Kalogeras gave the crowd a short background of Greek and Albanian history by briefly describing the different ethnic groups, wars that were fought, prominent historical figures and certain Greek terms.

Throughout the lecture, Kalogeras further clarified the importance of the Greek and Albanian cultures in terms of their history and literature.

“You can tell he’s very well educated; he knows what he’s talking about,” said Shannon Chisholm, a junior majoring in English.

According to the USF Web site, Kalogeras has had several of his works widely published in various Greek and American journals such as The American Literary History journal, Journal of Modern Greek Studies and the Journal of Hellenic Diaspora, to name a few. He also helped find a journal called, Gramma: A Journal of Theory and Criticism, in addition to the Hellenic Association of American Studies (HELAAS).

Kalogeras also published a collection of essays titled Nationalism And Sexuality: Crisis of Identity.

USF professor William M. Murray, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies, arranged for Kalogeras to come speak at the university.

“I view it as my job to establish programs that encourage interdisciplinary exchange for our students. I saw the visit of professor Kalogeras as a way in which we might have students form the English and history departments interact with one another,” Murray said.

“Programs like this one help both faculty and students to see the workings of factors that are helping to evolve a new American culture. The interplay between historical forces, the movements of peoples, their ideas and ways of doing things and the impact this has on others in an American setting is a dynamic process that is shaping our lives everyday.”

Kalogeras has taught at Aristotle University for 17 years now. During the past month, he has been lecturing about his latest paper at universities around the country, including Columbia, Brown and SUNY Stoneybrook.

“I like the drama in the audience, their reactions,” Kalogeras said about reading his papers in front of a crowd. “Some of them are so shocked; they shake their heads vigorously.”

Next year, Murray said, USF hopes to host a lecture on an ancient archaeological theme. One possibility is professor. Christos Doumas, who excavated Thera, a Minoan town that was buried by a volcanic eruption in the 1630s B.C, which some believe could possibly be linked to the famous myth of Atlantis.