2011-2012 Colloquium Series

Athinodors Chronis (Assistant Professor, Marketing, California State University, Stanislaus), will present "From Roman Past to Byzantine Present: Tourism, Museum Artifacts, and the Shaping of Contemporary Greek Heritage"

Friday, April 27, 4:00 PM
Room 101, 2251 College Avenue
Archeological Research Facility
University of California, Berkeley

The Byzantine Empire was a multi-ethnic society comprised of Romans, Greeks, Slavs, Armenians, Georgians, Laz, Syrians, Turks, and Arabs. If there was any unifying consciousness and collective identification into this cultural Babel, it was that of the Roman. Paradoxically, the Byzantine narrative is strongly sustained in the memory of modern Greek society. Contemporary Greeks consider Byzantine history to be part of their national consciousness and an indispensable element of their historical progress. Notwithstanding the indisputable value of the classical ancestors, the forging of modern Greek national identity is attributed to the Byzantine forefathers. How come such diverse, Roman-based, variegated society came to be considered not only part of the Greek history but an essential element of modern Hellenism? What is it that makes Byzantium very Hellenic?

This talk aims to provide insight into the place of Byzantine culture into the contemporary Greek subjectivity. Following the rise of social history - history from the bottom up, that is focused on common people, how they lived, and what their practices were - it draws on personal interviews with museum visitors at a heritage exhibition in Thessaloniki, Greece. Verbal articulations of tourists' experiences unpack the role of museum artifacts as the tangible means through which they connect with the past. It is argued that the exhibited objects function as tangible mnemonic devices and emit perceptions of cultural continuity due to their multi-sensory bodily associations and ritualistic performances in the everyday life of the tourists. Theoretically, this work is grounded on and contributes to the domains of collective memory, embodiment, performance, and tourist agency.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Athinodoros Chronis is Associate Professor of Marketing at California State University, Stanislaus. He is a long-time core member of the Tourism Studies Working Group at UC Berkeley. His research interests embrace the experiential aspects of consumption, including the junction of tourism, history, and material culture. He has studied extensively the active role of tourists in the construction of cultural imaginaries at multiple heritage sites both in the United States and Europe. His work has appeared in the Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Tourist Studies, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Consumer Behavior, Consumption, Markets & Culture, and Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, among others.

Speaker Contact Address:
Management, Operations, and Marketing Department, California State University-Stanislaus, Turlock, CA 95382, USA. [email: achronis@csustan.edu]

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