2018 Seminar

Mount Menoikeion Summer Seminar, 2018:
“Holy Cycles and Earthly Rhythms,” June 1-10, 2018
Seminar Application Deadlines: Wednesday, February 7 (graduate); Thursday, March 1 (undergraduate)

The life of a monastic is organized around a daily pattern of prayer and work, each week is defined by the rhythm of recurring religious ritual. The Christian calendar itself is a reinscription of the life of Christ, the acts of his disciples, and the lives of the saints, reanimated annually through texts, services, and rituals. By engaging with the nuns of Hagios Ioannis Prodromos, participants in the 2018 Mt. Menoikeion Summer Seminar may reflect on how religious ritual, liturgical art, and daily routines are organized in temporal or spatial cycles.

The concept of cyclicity may also stimulate inquiry into natural patterns and their practical or psychological impacts on religious communities. How do self-sufficient monastic communities tune their agricultural practices to climate and soil cycles for survival? How do harvest and planting seasons compete with fasting periods in the composition of the monastic diet? Participants may also want to consider broader climatic, economic, or political cycles and their relationships to monastic communities.

The dependence on recurrence and return also begs the question of how cycles deal with ruptures, endings, or natural variance. For example, how do monastics reconcile an end-focused salvation narrative with cyclical practice? How are novelty and innovation treated in literature, the arts, or the sciences? How are changes in natural cycles treated? This seminar will encourage participants from across the disciplines to consider broadly how the community, land, artifacts, and customs on and around Mt. Menoikeion engage, reflect, or reject notions of cyclicity in time and space.

Sponsored by Princeton’s Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, the seminar is a unique academic experience that allows for exchange among fellow graduates and undergraduates across departmental boundaries. It is also a very rewarding opportunity to investigate Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek history, art history, architecture, musicology, anthropology, religion, politics, and culture at a historic monastery in near continuous, active use since the thirteenth century.

Applicants will receive a response to their application in time to make SAFE deadlines. Successful applicants will meet for a pre-seminar session later in the spring semester.

Seminar Directors
    Nikolaos Bakirtzis (Professor, The Cyprus Institute)
    Dimitri Gondicas (Professor, Hellenic Studies)

Seminar Coordinators
    Joe Glynias (History)
    David Salkowski (Musicology)
    Nikitas Tampakis (Library)

Princeton Faculty
    Elizabeth A. Davis (Professor, Anthropology)

Greek Archaeological Service Participant:
Xenophon Moniaros (9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities)

Princeton Undergraduate Students
    Nardeen Khella   Paper | Journal
    Alice Maiden Paper | Journal
    Sylvie Thode Paper | Journal
    Laurie Zielinski  Paper | Journal

Princeton Graduate Students
    Malina Buturovic (Classics)
    Nikianna Dinenis (History)
    Sophie Lewis (Music)
    Erene Morcos (Art and Archaeology)