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New Book on the Hellenistic Period

23. Jun. 2014

A new book on intercultural entanglements in the Hellenistic period was published by Prof. Dr. Eftychia Stavrianopoulou as part the completed Cluster project B15 “The Elusive Greekness”.

The volume “Shifting Social Imaginaries in the Hellenistic Period. Narrations, Practices, and Images” addresses the problem of intercultural entanglements in the Hellenistic period with the aim of provoking a rethinking of our assumptions regarding what we define as ‘Hellenism’. There is a long tradition in classical scholarship of reducing the Hellenistic period to the spreading of Greek language and culture far beyond the borders of the Mediterranean. More than anything else this perception has hindered an appreciation of the manifold consequences triggered by the creation of new spaces of connectivity linking different cultures and societies in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.

The publication seeks to build on the concept of the social imaginary as introduced by Cornelius Castoriadis and expanded by Charles Taylor as a methodological approach which may bridge the gap between the local and the global as well as between historical accounts and archaeological finds.

In adopting this new approach the volume explores the effects of the continuous adaptations of ideas and practices to new contexts of meaning on the social imaginaries of the parties participating in these intercultural encounters. The essays show that the seemingly static end-products of the interaction between Greek and non-Greek groups, such as texts, images, and objects, were embedded in long-term discourses, and thus subject to continuously shifting processes.

The book consists of three sections “Change and Continuity”, Modes of Cultural appropriation”, and “Shifting Worldviews”. Authors include Deniz Kaptan, Heather D. Baker, Rolf Strootman, Gilles Gorre, Eleni Fassa, Andrea Jördens, Eftychia Stavrianopoulou, Sylvie Honigman, Christian Marek, Jessica L. Nitschke, Christoph Michels, Onno van Nijf, Andrew Erskine, Rachel Mairs, and Omar Coloru.

The book  “Shifting Social Imaginaries in the Hellenistic Period. Narrations, Practices, and Images” – 436 pages – was published by Brill in October 2013 as part of the main series Mnemosyne Supplements, vol. 363.
The book originated from the conference “Shifting Social Imaginaries in the Hellenistic Period” held at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg in 2011. The event was organized by the Cluster’s project B15 “The Elusive Greekness”.

Prof. Dr. Eftychia Stavrianopoulou is professor of Ancient History and associate member of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" at Heidelberg University.
For more information, see the book announcement by Brill.


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  • Eftychia Stavrianopoulou (ed.), Shifting Social Imaginaries in the Hellenistic Period. Narrations, Practices, and Images, Brill 2013 (Mnemosyne Suppl. 363), ISBN13: 9789004257986, E-ISBN: 9789004257993