15 Mar 2017 Upper House
Dr Kostis Kourelis (Associate Professor and Chair of the Art and Art History Department, Franklin and Marshall College) will introduce the topic: "The Archaeology of Care: Refugee Camps as Cultural Landscapes"
The current refugee crisis in Greece is only the latest episode in a continuous movement of forced migration through the Greek landscape over two centuries. According to the latest reports by the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are 50 camps on the Greek mainland that are currently housing undocumented migrants. Dispersed throughout the countryside and tightly policed by the army, today’s camps present challenges in documenting a material landscape of suffering. Employing techniques developed by archaeologists of the contemporary world (from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S.-Mexican border), we develop a disciplinary response to camps as an increasingly dominant mode of housing in the 21st century.
Greece offers a unique laboratory to investigate the long history of refugee housing. More than any other European country, it has continuously confronted a crisis of refugees from the inception of the nation-state. The national archaeological service and the foreign schools have played significant roles, both positive and negative, in managing the multiple refugee crises that have plagued the country for two centuries. A systematic new field of refugee archaeology must overcome Greece’s traditional resistance to the excavation of modern sites of trauma, such as internment camps, refugee camps, political prisoner camps, or mass burials. Using the most recent refugee crisis as a starting point, the paper highlights ongoing research on the archaeology of modern displacement during the war of independence, the Asia Minor refugee crisis, and the Nazi occupation.
Kostis Kourelis is an architectural historian who focuses on the archaeology of settlements and landscapes. He began his career by investigating medieval rural landscapes in Greece, Sicily, Tunisia, and Ukraine. In the 1990s, he co-directed the Morea Project, a survey of vernacular architecture in the northwestern Peloponnese. More recently, Kourelis investigated the intersection between artistic avant-gardes and radical social politics in the excavation and survey of medieval Greece in the 1890s-1930s. His recent archaeological fieldwork has focused on the desertion of villages in Greece, on migrant urban neighborhoods in America, and on worker housing in North Dakota’s oil boom. He is Associate Professor and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at Franklin and Marshall College. Publications include Houses of the Morea: Vernacular Architecture of the Northwest Peloponnesos (1205-1955) (2004), “Byzantium and the Avant-Garde: Excavations at Corinth, 1920s-1930s” (2007), The Archaeology of Xenitia (2008), Punk Archaeology (2014), and “North Dakota Man Camp Project: The Archaeology of Home in the Bakken Oil Fields” (2017).